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Commission Document

Order Adopting Certification Procedures for iTRS Providers

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Released: July 28, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-118

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service
)
CG Docket No. 10-51
Program
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)

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER AND ORDER

Adopted: July 28, 2011

Released: July 28, 2011

By the Commission:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Para.
I.
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................... 3
III. SECOND REPORT AND ORDER........................................................................................................ 7
A. Eligibility for Compensation from the TRS Fund............................................................................ 7
B. Requirements to Operate Call Center and Employ CAs ................................................................ 13
C. Evidentiary Documentation for Submission for Certification Application.................................... 21
D. On-Site Visits................................................................................................................................. 35
E. Annual Reports and Certification Renewals .................................................................................. 38
F. Notification of Substantive Change ............................................................................................... 42
G. Temporary Cessation of Service .................................................................................................... 49
H. Timeframe for Existing Providers to Apply for New Certification ............................................... 57
IV. ORDER................................................................................................................................................. 62
V. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 68
VI. ORDERING CLAUSES....................................................................................................................... 74
APPENDIX A—List of Commenters
APPENDIX B—Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX C—Interim Rules
APPENDIX D—Final Rules

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Second Report and Order, we amend the Commission’s process for certifying
Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS) providers as eligible for payment from the
Interstate TRS Fund (Fund) for their provision of iTRS, as proposed in the Commission’s April 2011
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Video Relay Service (VRS) reform docket, CG Docket
No. 10-51.1 In the Certification FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on ways to revise the current


1 Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 5545 (2011) (VRS Practices R&O and Certification FNPRM; or VRS Practices R&O
when just referring to its Report and Order portion, and Certification FNPRM when just referring to its FNPRM
(continued….)

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certification process to ensure that iTRS providers receiving certification are qualified to provide iTRS in
compliance with the Commission's rules, and to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse through improved
oversight of such providers. We seek in this Second Report and Order to promote the effectiveness,
efficiency, and sustainability of iTRS.2 The measures adopted in this Second Report and Order are
another step3 forward in the Commission’s efforts to reform the structure and practices of the VRS
program, and thus may be transitional, pending other structural changes that the Commission may make
to this program.4
2.
Specifically, in this Second Report and Order, we require all iTRS providers to obtain
certification from the Commission in order to be eligible to receive compensation from the Fund; require
all VRS applicants for Commission certification to lease, license or own, as well as operate, essential
facilities associated with TRS call centers and to employ interpreters to staff those centers at the date of
the application; and require each iTRS applicant for certification to submit specific types of documentary
evidence of its ability to comply with all of the Commission’s rules, including those newly adopted in the
VRS Practices R&O. In addition, we adopt rules governing on-site visits by Commission staff to the
premises of applicants for certification, as well as to iTRS providers’ premises after they are certified.
We also revise our rules governing annual compliance reports filed by certified providers, and substantive
TRS program changes that must be reported to the Commission. Finally, we require prior approval for
planned cessations of VRS service of 30 minutes or longer. In the accompanying Order, we adopt an
interim rule requiring that providers certify, under penalty of perjury, that their certification applications
(Continued from previous page)


portion). Notwithstanding prior definitions of “iTRS,” see, e.g., Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-
to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled
Service Providers
, CG Docket No. 03-123, WC Docket No. 05-196, Order, 24 FCC Rcd 14342 (2009) (temporarily
waiving a requirement regarding treatment of toll free numbers for VRS and Internet Protocol relay (IP Relay)
services), for purposes of this Second Report and Order, we use the term “iTRS” to reflect the definition of
“Internet-based TRS” in our rules, essentially meaning all forms of TRS in which an individual with a hearing or
speech disability uses an Internet connection with the TRS communications assistant (CA). Cf. 47 C.F.R. §
64.601(a)(11) (defining of “Internet-based TRS”). At present, this includes VRS, Internet Protocol relay (IP Relay),
the Internet-enabled form of captioned telephone relay service (IP CTS), and any combination of these services or
use of these services with other forms of relay, such as voice carryover (allowing a user to speak directly to the other
party while having the conversation relayed back) or hearing carryover (allowing a user to hear the other party
directly while using relay to convey messages). We note that in the future, “iTRS” may also include other forms of
relay services that utilize an Internet connection. Though this Second Report and Order is issued in a docket largely
focusing on VRS, the policies and rules we adopt here apply to providers of all forms of iTRS, unless specified
otherwise.
2 Cf. Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-51, Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC
Rcd 8597, 8598, ¶ 1 (2010) (2010 VRS NOI) (initiating a fresh look at the structure of the VRS program and how
VRS providers should be compensated).
3 See, e.g., Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-51, Declaratory Ruling,
25 FCC Rcd 1868 (2010) (addressing VRS call practices and compensability of certain VRS calls); Declaratory
Ruling, Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 6012 (2010) (addressing ways to detect and prevent
waste, fraud and abuse in the VRS program) (2010 VRS Declaratory Ruling, Order and NPRM); VRS Practices R
&O and Certification FNPRM.

4 See generally 2010 VRS NOI. As the Commission noted in the Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5589, ¶ 95
n.263, the certification process that we adopt here may be superseded or modified by future Commission actions on
VRS reform.
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and annual compliance filings required under section 64.606(g) of the Commission’s rules5 are truthful,
accurate, and complete.

II.

BACKGROUND

3.
Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), codified at section 225 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), requires the Commission to ensure that TRS is
available, to the extent possible and in the most efficient manner, to persons with hearing or speech
disabilities in the United States.6 When the ADA was first enacted in 1990, there was only one type of
TRS, which relayed calls between voice telephone users and individuals who used TTYs connected to the
public switched telephone network. Since then the Commission has approved for compensation from the
Fund a variety of innovative relay services that allow users to take advantage of Internet-based
technologies. Specifically, in March 2000, the Commission approved VRS, which uses a broadband
Internet connection between the VRS user and the communications assistant (CA) to enable a person
using American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate over video with another person through a CA.7
Additionally, in 2002, the Commission approved IP Relay, a text-based form of TRS that uses the Internet
for the link of the call between the relay user and the CA, allowing users to communicate with computers
or mobile devices that have Internet capability.8 Finally, in 2007, the Commission approved an Internet-
enabled form of captioned telephone relay service, IP CTS, which uses an Internet connection to carry
captions between the relay provider and the user.9 This service allows users who wish to speak to the
other party themselves to simultaneously listen to what is said over the telephone and read captions of
what the other person is saying. Currently, all these forms of iTRS are compensated exclusively through
the Fund.10
4.
Over the past two years, the Commission has initiated a number of proceedings to
evaluate the VRS and other iTRS programs, to ensure that these programs are effective, efficient, and
sustainable in the future. For example, in June 2010, the Commission initiated an inquiry to ensure that
VRS is available to and used by the full spectrum of eligible users, and is provided efficiently so as to be
less susceptible to the waste, fraud, and abuse that have plagued that program.11 In the 2010 VRS NOI,


5 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(g).
6 47 U.S.C. § 225(b)(1); see Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-336, § 401, 104 Stat. 327,
336-69 (1990), as amended by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
(CVAA), Pub. L. No. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010) (as codified at 47 U.S.C. § 715). See also Pub. L. 111-265,
124 Stat. 2795 (2010), making technical corrections to the CVAA.
7 Telecommunications Relay Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, Report and Order and
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CG Docket No. 98-67, 15 FCC Rcd 5140, 5152-54, ¶¶ 21-27 (2000) (2000
TRS Order
). A VRS call is initiated to a VRS CA and the CA, in turn, places an outbound telephone call to the
called party. During the call, the CA relays the communications between the two parties, signing what the hearing
person says to the deaf or hard of hearing user and responding in voice to the hearing person. A VRS call can also
be initiated by having the hearing person connect to the CA, who then places the video call to the ASL user.
8 Provision of Improved Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with
Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket No. 98-67, Declaratory Ruling and Second Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 17 FCC Rcd 7779 (2002).
9 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities; Internet-based Captioned Telephone Service
, CG Docket No. 03-123, Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd
379 (2007) (IP CTS Declaratory Ruling).
10 See, e.g., id. at 381, ¶ 6. But see 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8617, ¶ 70 (asking about jurisdictional
separations).
11 See 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8607, ¶ 31; see also para. 5, infra (discussing VRS fraud and abuse).
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the Commission raised concerns about the extent to which the Commission’s eligibility requirements for
compensation from the Fund are effective to ensure that potential VRS providers are qualified to provide
VRS in accordance with the Commission’s rules.12 The Commission asked whether Commission
certification of all VRS providers is necessary to ensure that only qualified providers are permitted to
provide VRS service and receive compensation from the Fund and that all eligible providers are subject to
effective supervision by the Commission. The Commission also asked whether entities that do not own
or operate any TRS facilities, but merely subcontract out the call center functions needed to handle VRS
calls, should be eligible for VRS certification.13 Furthermore, the Commission raised concerns about the
extent to which the Commission’s current oversight of the VRS program sufficiently deters potential
fraud and abuse.14 For example, the Commission asked whether states have the appropriate incentives to
monitor VRS providers that, under current Commission rules, are eligible to receive compensation from
the Fund by virtue of their state contracts.
5.
In April 2011, the Commission released the VRS Practices R&O, adopting rule changes
designed to enable it to detect and prevent fraud and abuse in the provision of VRS.15 The Commission
noted that although VRS has proven to be extremely popular, this service has become vulnerable to fraud
and abuse, which in turn has threatened its long-term sustainability. For example, the Commission noted
that in November 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 26 people, including call center
managers, paid callers, and VRS CAs, for allegedly billing the Fund for illegitimate calls resulting in tens
of millions of dollars of payments, and that most of these individuals have pleaded guilty or have been
convicted.16 In an effort to curb such illicit activities, and ensure that VRS remains a valuable
communication tool for Americans who rely on this service for their daily communications, the
Commission adopted a number of changes to the VRS program, some of which apply to all iTRS
providers.17
6.
In an effort to ensure that all entities seeking Commission certification in the future – or
currently certified entities seeking recertification – are fully qualified to provide iTRS in compliance with
our rules and requirements, including all of the new obligations adopted in the VRS Practices R&O, the
Commission adopted an FNPRM proposing changes to its certification process for all iTRS providers in
conjunction with the VRS Practices R&O.18 The Commission expressed the goal of establishing clear
criteria for granting certification to qualifying entities, and adopting measures that will enable us to


12 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8605, ¶ 25.
13 Id. at 8605-06, ¶¶ 24-26.
14 Id. at 8606, ¶ 26.
15 See VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5546, ¶ 1. For example, the Commission instituted prohibitions against
certain practices such as relaying calls from a home, the use of privacy screens by CAs, and revenue sharing
arrangements for CA or call center functions between entities eligible for compensation from the Fund and ineligible
entities.
16 See id. at 5549, ¶ 4 n.14, citing 2010 VRS Declaratory Ruling, Order and NPRM, 25 FCC Rcd at 6016, ¶ 6 n.22.
The Commission further noted then, and reiterate now, that we continue to receive allegations of abusive practices
by VRS providers or their subcontractors. VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5549-50, ¶ 4.
17 For example, new rules adopted in the VRS Practices R&O pertaining to automated call data collection,
whistleblower protections, and the retention of billing records apply to all iTRS providers. VRS Practices R&O, 26
FCC Rcd at 5582, ¶ 79 (call data collection); 5577, ¶ 68 (whistleblower protections); 5585, ¶ 87 (record retention).
18 See Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5587-93, ¶¶ 92-103. Although the 2010 VRS NOI asked only about the
certification process for VRS providers, the FNPRM extended these proposals to all iTRS providers, including
providers of VRS, IP Relay and IP CTS.
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exercise the oversight needed to ensure full compliance with our rules.19 We have reviewed the
comments filed on these issues and find that various modifications to the proposed criteria for eligibility
for compensation from the Fund, as well as to the certification process, for all iTRS providers are
warranted. We address each of these below.

III.

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER

A.

Eligibility for Compensation from the TRS Fund

7.
Under our current rules, an iTRS provider is eligible to provide relay services and receive
compensation from the Fund if it is: (1) operated under contract with and/or by a certified state TRS
program; (2) owned or operated under contract with an interstate common carrier; (3) an interstate
common carrier offering TRS under the Commission’s rules; or (4) certified by the Commission.20 In the
Certification FNPRM, the Commission proposed to eliminate the first three of these bases for eligibility,
and to instead require all iTRS providers to be certified by the Commission in order to provide iTRS and
receive payment from the Fund.21 The Commission specifically noted that eligibility through methods
other than certification by the Commission has failed to ensure that providers are qualified to provide
VRS or to provide the Commission with the requisite information to determine compliance with our TRS
rules. The Commission also expressed concerns that these alternative eligibility methods have permitted
participation in the VRS program by unqualified, non-compliant providers, and have hampered the
Commission’s efforts to exercise stringent Commission oversight over entities providing service.22
8.
Discussion. Based on the record before us, and the substantial support of the
commenters,23 we adopt a requirement for all iTRS providers to receive certification from the
Commission to be eligible to receive compensation from the TRS Fund. As the Commission stated in the
Certification FNPRM, the current alternative eligibility methods have failed to ensure that all providers
are qualified to provide service that complies with the Commission’s rules, or to facilitate Commission
oversight of all entities eligible under these criteria. As the Commission further explained, states
generally do not have their own rules governing iTRS, nor do they directly compensate iTRS providers.
Therefore, they generally have little or no incentive to either verify the qualifications of the providers
with which they contract or exercise the oversight needed to ensure full compliance with the
Commission’s TRS rules.24
9.
The Commission similarly has questioned whether eligibility under the second and third
alternative methods ensures that all providers are qualified to provide service that complies with the


19 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5589, ¶ 95.
20 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(F)(1-4). See also IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391, ¶ 28 (allowing
certification of IP CTS providers by the Commission).
21 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5589-90, ¶¶ 96-97.
22 Id. at 5589, ¶ 96. The Commission noted, for example, that CAC, a VRS provider certified under a state program,
served as a billing agent for Viable, whose executives and associates pled guilty for defrauding the TRS Fund and
the FCC. See id. at 5589 n.264.
23 ANI Comments at 2-3; CSDVRS Comments at 1; Purple Comments at 2-3; Snap Comments at 2; Sprint
Comments at 2-3; ASL Holdings Comments at 3. But see SignOn Comments at 4-6 (recommending a separate
registration process that is less onerous for entities that provide limited components of VRS service, for example,
interpreter services); AT&T Comments at 5 (the requirement would be overreaching).
24 See Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5589-90, ¶ 96. See also ANI Comments at 2-3; Purple Comments at 2
(“The Commission already has a full record supporting its view that…the states lack the incentive or resources to
properly govern participants in the TRS fund who are eligible due to one or more state TRS contracts”).
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Commission’s rules, or affords sufficient Commission oversight of entities eligible under those criteria.
In 2004, for instance, the Commission stated that, under those two criteria, “there is no means by which
the Commission can determine whether the providers are offering the TRS services in compliance with
our rules” because of the absence of a Commission certification process at that time,25 The Commission
interpreted the third eligibility method, an interstate common carrier offering TRS under the
Commission’s rules, to apply only to common carriers “offering telephone voice transmission services
[and] that are obligated to provide TRS in a state that does not have a certified TRS program.”26 Indeed,
the Commission already has found that the second and third alternative methods are not sufficient to
confer eligibility for compensation from the Fund for the provision of IP CTS.27 As subsequently
clarified, “[t]he intent of the more specific eligibility rules for IP CTS providers . . . is to ensure” greater
oversight of IP CTS providers than those eligibility methods afford.28 Finally, experience has shown that
common carrier status generally has little or no bearing on the qualifications of a company to provide
iTRS service because states may grant applications for common carrier status without verifying the
applicant’s qualifications or experience.29 Nor do they ensure that the carrier has the facilities or staff to
comply with our iTRS rules.
10.
In light of these circumstances, including the waste, fraud and abuse that have plagued
the VRS program, we now require all iTRS providers to be certified by the Commission in order to
receive compensation from the Fund. Because the Commission bears the responsibility for managing the
Fund and ensuring the integrity of its iTRS programs, it should have the exclusive authority to ensure that
iTRS is provided by qualified providers and to exercise effective oversight over the operations of these
providers.30 We find that requiring all iTRS providers to become Commission-certified is a reasonable


25 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities,
CC Docket Nos. 90-571 and 98-67, CG Docket No. 03-123, Report and Order, Order on
Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 12475, 12516, ¶ 99 (2004) (2004 TRS
Report and Order
). There, the Commission declined at that juncture to require all providers seeking compensation
from the Fund, including interstate traditional (TTY-based) TRS providers, to be certified by the Commission, but
sought further comment on whether there should be a Commission certification process for providers of IP Relay
and VRS. The Commission added the Commission certification process as another basis for eligibility the following
year. Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities,
CG Docket No. 03-123, Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, 20 FCC Rcd 20577 (2005)
(IP Relay/VRS Certification Order).
26 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12517, ¶ 103 n.304. The Commission explained that Title IV of the
ADA, codified at section 225 of the Act, puts the obligation on the entities providing telephone transmission service
to also offer TRS, and that the three eligibility categories that existed at that time, prior to adoption of a Commission
certification process, were modeled upon the ways in which common carriers could be deemed to be in compliance
with their underlying obligation under section 225 to provide TRS. Id. at ¶ 103 and n.304. When the Commission
adopted its certification process the following year, it explained that those three eligibility categories were adopted
at a time when all TRS calls were carried over telephone lines, and concluded that those categories “do not reflect
advances in the way that TRS is offered,” particularly with respect to the forms of iTRS that existed at that juncture,
VRS and IP Relay. IP Relay/VRS Certification Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 20586, ¶¶ 17, 18.
27 IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391, ¶ 28.
28 Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Clarifies the Eligibility Requirement for Compensation from the
Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund for Providers of Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone
Service,
CG Docket No. 03-123, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 2889, 2891 (CGB 2008).
29 See para. 34, infra.
30 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5589-90, ¶ 96; see ANI Comments at 3 (it would be administratively
burdensome for the Commission to determine whether all state certification programs are sufficient); ASL Holdings
Comments at 3; Snap Comments at 2; Sprint Comments at 3 (the Commission has determined that it has sole
(continued….)
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and appropriate way to achieve these objectives and further our goals of promoting effective, efficient,
and sustainable iTRS services, and reducing fraud and abuse in the VRS program.31 We further find that
applying this requirement to all iTRS will help to ensure that the difficulties the Commission has
encountered in the VRS program will less likely be repeated for other iTRS programs.
11.
Accordingly, an iTRS provider will no longer be permitted to receive compensation from
the Fund unless it is certified by the Commission. The requirement for Commission certification will
apply to new applicants, and to existing providers who have been eligible to provide iTRS under one of
the previous alternative methods for eligibility. It likewise will apply to all forms of iTRS,32 and to all
iTRS providers seeking recertification after their certifications expire, including those providers currently
eligible under an existing Commission certification.33
12.
We decline the request of AT&T to exempt interstate common carriers currently eligible
for compensation from the Fund for provision of iTRS.34 As discussed above, we find that an applicant’s
status as an interstate common carrier does not necessarily demonstrate that provider’s ability to meet the
Commission’s iTRS provider requirements. For instance, an interstate common carrier does not
necessarily have the core components and staffing in place to provide iTRS.35 As we discuss above, the
certification requirement is a critical tool that is designed to help ensure the integrity of the iTRS
programs, ensure that iTRS services conform to our rules, ensure that only qualified providers receive
compensation from the Fund, and help combat waste, fraud and abuse. We will therefore not exempt
interstate common carriers or any other class of providers from the iTRS certification requirement.
Existing iTRS providers who are currently eligible for compensation from the Fund by virtue of their
interstate common carrier status, and who seek to continue to receive compensation from the Fund, must
apply for certification under the new process.36
(Continued from previous page)


jurisdiction over Internet-based TRS services, and therefore rightfully bears the responsibility for ensuring that
entities offering such services are doing so lawfully and in compliance with Commission standards). But see
Sorenson Comments at 3 (suggesting that state-based certification from the state of Utah is adequate to ensure
compliance with the TRS rules).
31 CSDVRS, for instance, asserts that requiring certification for providers that are not already certified “will promote
compliance and consistency in providing quality relay services” in accordance with the Commission’s TRS rules.
CSDVRS Comments at 1.
32 See AT&T Comments at 3; Purple Comments at 2; Sprint Comments at 2. But see Hamilton Comments at 3-5
(arguing against application of new certification requirements to forms of iTRS other than VRS).
33 See, e.g., CSDVRS Comments at 1-2 (supporting the proposal in the Certification FNPRM that providers not yet
certified be required to apply for certification, and stating that providers currently certified by the Commission
should be allowed to continue providing relay services until the expiration of their certification term).
34 AT&T Comments at 3, 6-7 (arguing that there is no evidence that interstate common carriers offering TRS have
engaged in any fraudulent or abusive behavior toward the TRS Fund or have facilitated participation in the TRS
program by unqualified entities, and that the Commission should give these measures a chance to take full effect and
review their success before undertaking changes that might drive iTRS providers from the market). Contra, Purple
Comments at 2 (opposes grandfathering of existing providers who are not currently certified by the Commission).
35 See para. 9, supra.
36 See para. 59, infra.
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B.

Requirements to Operate Call Center and Employ CAs

13.
In the VRS Practices Order, the Commission amended its rules to require all providers
eligible for compensation from the Fund to operate their own call centers and employ their own CAs --
that is, to provide the core components of VRS.37 The Commission also permitted, however, an eligible
provider to engage a third party entity to provide CAs or call center functions on its behalf if that third
party entity also is an eligible provider under the Commission’s rules.38 Thus, for example, an entity
eligible to receive compensation from the Fund as an interstate common carrier could continue
subcontracting out its call center functions to a provider that was also eligible to be compensated from the
Fund. Such arrangements will no longer be acceptable, however, for interstate common carriers that have
been receiving payments from the Fund by virtue of their interstate common carrier status, because we
will now require all VRS providers to obtain certification, and to operate their own calling facilities and
employ their own CAs as conditions to obtaining certification.
14.
AT&T objects to the new requirements for all VRS providers to operate their own call
centers and employ their own CAs, arguing that ownership and operation of call centers is not necessary
to provide quality VRS service, and that such a requirement would unnecessarily limit the pool of
potential VRS providers and reduce competition among providers.39 Sprint agrees that VRS facility
ownership should not be a requirement for TRS certification, noting that some providers that owned their
own call centers engaged in questionable conduct, and the provision in the new rules that prohibits
eligible providers from billing the Fund on behalf of “white label” providers should be sufficient to
prevent the reemergence of such providers.40 Gallaudet opposes the requirement that call centers
contracted by VRS providers must themselves be owned by eligible VRS providers, arguing that it is not
now a VRS provider, and it would not be in a position to become an eligible VRS provider in order to
continue to provide high quality interpreting services to a VRS provider under contract.41
15.
We will require that entities wishing to be eligible for compensation from the Fund for
the provision of VRS be certified by the Commission, operate the core facilities necessary to provide
VRS service and employ their own CAs. We are not persuaded by the arguments of AT&T, Sprint and
Gallaudet, and find, for the reasons discussed below, that these requirements are necessary to ensure the
provision of quality VRS and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
16.
The requirements adopted in the VRS Practices R&O, including those requiring VRS
providers to lease, license or acquire and operate their own facilities and employ their own CAs,
emanated from the Commission’s goals of establishing better oversight of the VRS program, in order to
ensure compliance with the Commission’s rules and reduce fraud.42 Moreover, requiring VRS providers
to operate their own call centers and to employ their own CAs will ensure that certified providers exercise
necessary oversight of their own operations and compliance with Commission rules, and enable the
Commission to better oversee the core operations of these providers. Applying these requirements
uniformly will help to ensure quality of service and compliance with the Commission’s rules, and reduce


37 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, ¶ 58.
38 See id.
39 AT&T Comments at 12.
40 Sprint Comments at 4-5. “White label” refers to an entity that is offering relay service but not eligible for direct
payment from the Fund, and instead bills the Fund through an eligible provider. See VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC
Rcd at 5571, ¶ 52 n.147.
41 Gallaudet Reply Comments at 16-18; see also Sorenson Reply Comments at 2.
42 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5572-74, ¶¶ 54-58.
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waste, fraud and abuse in the VRS industry. Conversely, it will avoid the risks of lack of Commission
oversight associated with allowing the contracting out of CA services or call center functions to entities
that are not eligible VRS providers.
17.
ACD Platforms. For the same reasons, we will require that any VRS provider that is
leasing43 an automatic call distribution (ACD) platform44 from an eligible provider or from a third-party
non-provider must have a written lease for such ACD platform and must include a copy of such written
lease with its application for certification.45 The terms of the lease may not include (i) compensation of
the lessor by the lessee related to minutes of use or (ii) revenue sharing agreements between the lessor and
the lessee.46 In addition, a VRS provider leasing an ACD platform from an eligible provider must locate
the ACD platform on its own premises and must use its own employees to manage the ACD platform. In
other words, an eligible VRS provider may lease the ACD platform from an eligible provider on a stand-
alone basis, but may not lease capacity on another provider’s ACD.47 The Commission will deny any
application for certification that does not comply with the above requirements. In addition, if it is later
discovered that a certified VRS provider is leasing from an eligible provider an ACD platform subject to
an arrangement (whether in writing or verbal) that does not comply with the above requirements, the
Fund Administrator shall immediately suspend all payments to both the lessor and the lessee.
18.
We find that ACD leases with eligible providers calling for revenue sharing,
compensation related to minutes of use, sharing of the ACD platform, or sharing the management of the
ACD platform may give providers an increased incentive and ability to generate illegitimate minutes to
bill to the Fund, and thus could result in continuation of the types of unlawful activities that we have
already seen on the part of many white label providers,48 undermining our efforts to reduce waste, fraud
and abuse. In order to prevent fraud and ensure that only providers certified by the Commission provide
the core components of VRS and exercise oversight of, and are accountable for, their own operations, we
prohibit these practices. Allowing ACD leasing between providers without these restrictions would
undermine the VRS rules that the Commission adopted in the VRS Practices R&O, the primary purposes
of which are to reduce fraud and establish better oversight of the VRS Program.49 If two providers were
permitted to share an ACD platform (particularly through an arrangement based on VRS revenues
generated), they would have an increased ability to commingle minutes that they will bill to the Fund
which, in turn, would dilute the accountability of each provider and hamper the Commission’s oversight
of each.


43 All references to leasing, leases, lessors, and lessees in this discussion of ACD platforms shall be construed to
refer correspondingly to licensing, licenses, licensors, and licensees.
44 By the term “ACD platform,” we mean the hardware and/or software that comprise the essential call center
function of call distribution, and that are a necessary core component of iTRS.
45 We require the provider to use for its call center functions the ACD platform whose lease is on record with the
Commission or, in any event, upon which the provider is relying for compliance with these requirements.
46 See generally VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5570-76, ¶¶ 47-63.
47 Any provider may purchase outright an ACD platform from any other entity, including another certified provider.
48 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5572-73, ¶ 55 (citing the series of indictments and guilty pleas listed therein
at 5549, ¶ 4 n.14, and the list of questionable VRS practices in the OIG Semi Annual Report of the criminal
investigations to Congress, discussed id. at 5550, ¶ 4).
49 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, ¶57.
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19.
For VRS providers that lease their ACD platforms from manufacturers or equipment
distributors not affiliated with VRS providers,50 however, we require a written lease for such ACD
platform that conforms to the same restrictions on lease terms discussed above (i.e., no compensation
related to minutes of use and no revenue sharing between lessor and lessee), and that the applicant include
a copy with its application for certification. The ban on revenue sharing and compensation based upon
minutes of use should remove any incentive on the part of the non-provider lessor to facilitate any scheme
by a provider to generate illegitimate minutes. We find that the additional restrictions placed above on
leases from one VRS provider to another are unnecessary because concerns about the ability of a provider
to generate illegitimate minutes are significantly lower in the case of a provider leasing an ACD platform
from a manufacturer or other entity not affiliated with a provider. Further, we emphasize that each
provider, regardless of how it meets the requirement to operate its own VRS facilities, will be solely
responsible and accountable for submitting accurate data relevant to its own operations to the Fund
Administrator.
20.
IP Relay and IP CTS Providers. In the Certification FNPRM, we also proposed that all
iTRS certification applicants, including IP Relay and IP CTS applicants, own and operate facilities
associated with TRS call centers, and employ CAs on a full time or part time basis.51 We now agree with
Hamilton and Purple that, at this juncture, we should not require IP Relay and IP CTS providers to own
and operate their own facilities and employ their own CAs.52 In the VRS Practices R&O, the Commission
adopted requirements that VRS providers own and operate their own facilities and employ their own CAs
as part of a package of rules designed to reduce fraud, establish better oversight of the VRS program, and
address the unauthorized revenue sharing arrangements that have escalated in the VRS program.53
Though IP Relay and IP CTS providers frequently use subcontractors to operate call centers, to date there
has been no public record of significant waste, fraud and abuse in those programs from the use of
subcontractors as there is in the VRS program, where there have been dozens of indictments related to
fraud.54 We therefore find that to apply these requirements to IP Relay and IP CTS providers at this time
could force such providers to expend significant sums to restructure their businesses to own and operate
their own facilities, and thereby result in disproportionate industry disruption as compared to regulatory
benefit. Nevertheless, we will monitor the provision of IP Relay and IP CTS services and revisit this
issue should the need arise. Moreover, as discussed below, we still apply to IP Relay and IP CTS
providers some of the evidentiary documentation requirements that we adopt, which we believe will be
sufficient to ensure that these providers are operating in compliance with the Commission’s rules.55

C.

Evidentiary Documentation for Submission for Certification Application

21.
In the Certification FNPRM, as discussed above, the Commission proposed that
applicants for certification or renewal of an expiring certification56 be required to provide documentary


50 If a VRS provider leases its ACD platform from a manufacturer or equipment distributor that is affiliated with a
VRS provider, the same restrictions apply as to ACD platform leases between providers. See paras. 17-18, supra.
51 Specifically, the Commission proposed to require such applicants to provide documentary and other evidence
demonstrating that the applicant owns and operates such facilities and employs CAs. VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC
Rcd at 5590, ¶ 97; see Section III.C., infra.
52 Hamilton Comments at 9; Purple Comments at 8. See also Hamilton Reply Comments at 4; Purple Reply
Comments at 5. No one opposed Hamilton’s and Purple’s comments regarding this issue.
53 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, ¶¶ 57-58.
54 Id. at 5549-50, ¶ 4 n.14.
55 See paras. 26-29 and 31, infra.
56 Currently, certifications are granted by the Commission for a period of five years. 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(c)(2).
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and other evidence that the applicant owns, licenses or leases and operates facilities associated with iTRS
call centers, and employs CAs, on a full or part-time basis, to staff such call centers as of the date of the
application.57 As set forth in greater detail below, the Commission proposed that certification applicants
submit specific evidentiary documentation. The Commission sought comment on the extent to which
these submissions are necessary to achieve our objectives, other types of documentation we should
require, and the level of detail needed to ensure that the Commission is able to assess whether an
applicant is fully qualified to provide iTRS in compliance with our rules and requirements.58 We
proposed that the required evidence include, but not be limited to: copies of deeds or leases for call
centers; lists of individuals with equity interests in or control of the applicant; lists of employees; proofs
of purchase or license agreements for equipment and technologies used by the applicant; copies of
employment agreements for all of the applicant’s executives and CAs; a listing of all financing
arrangements pertaining to the applicant’s provision of iTRS; a list of all sponsorship arrangements;
copies of subcontracting agreements for non-essential services; and copies of “all other agreements”
associated with the provision of iTRS.59
22.
While the majority of the commenters support the need for the Commission to collect
some documentation prior to granting certification, they differ on the extent of the information the
Commission should require.60 Specifically, several commenters question the necessity of imposing all of
the proposed requirements for documentation listed in the Certification FNPRM, arguing that doing so
would be burdensome, not serve the purpose of the new certification process, and waste applicant and
Commission resources.61 For example, Purple agrees that it is important that applicants be able to provide
evidentiary support of their ability to meet all of the rules, but is concerned about the extent of the list of
proposed documentation and believes that it is too voluminous.62 AT&T maintains that the proposed
certification process would be overly complicated and would seek information from applicants far beyond
what is needed to determine the qualifications of an applicant to be certified for payment from the Fund
for its provision of iTRS. AT&T argues that, in contrast, it would be reasonable to require an applicant to


57 See Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5590, ¶ 97.
58 See id. at 5591, ¶ 98.
59 Id. at 5590-91, ¶ 97.
60 For example, Sorenson challenges any change to the Commission’s current certification process, which requires
only a narrative description of provider operations with no accompanying documentation, and argues that there is no
evidence in the record to show that this existing procedure is inadequate to prevent future fraud. See Sorenson
Comments at 5.
61 See, e.g., Snap Comments at 3; Sorenson Comments at 1; Sprint Comments at 3 (arguing that many of the
documents proposed by the FCC as a condition for certification are not reasonably and specifically tied to the
provider’s iTRS operations). ANI, for example, recommends that only the following information be required in the
application: 1) evidence of lease or ownership interest in call center facilities; 2) a list of individuals or entities with
a 10% or greater interest in the applicant; 3) a list of all officers and directors of the applicant and any other entities
that control the applicant; 4) a list of all significant sources of funding (greater than $10,000,000); 5) proof that the
applicant owns or leases the essential equipment and software required to provide the service; and 6) copies of all
other agreements critical to the provision of the service. ANI Comments at 4.
62 Purple Comments at 3-5. Purple contends that some of the proposed requirements, including employee lists,
compensation, copies of license agreements, non-essential sub-contracting agreements, financing agreements, and
“all other agreements,” would be overly broad, burdensome to produce, unlikely to be reviewed by Commission
staff in a timely manner, and unnecessary with other compliance plans and checks and balances in place. In their
place, Purple proposes providers be required to demonstrate certain categories (ownership structure; financial
viability; ability to satisfy operational, technical, functional, and compliance standards), and provide a list of sub-
contractor relationships; copies of written compliance plans; and copies of process control procedures. See id.
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describe a work force plan, explain how it will meet Commission-imposed speed of answer requirements,
and demonstrate its qualifications by providing a general description of the facilities, including their
location and the technologies that will be used to provide iTRS.63 ANI contends that the proposed
modifications do not balance the need to reform the certification process against the administrative
burdens that it may unnecessarily impose on small businesses.64 Finally, some providers complain that
the documentation proposed is particularly burdensome when applied to applicants with more diverse
business operations, where iTRS is not the sole, or even the primary, revenue source. They request that
the Commission clarify that the information collection requirements apply only to an applicant’s iTRS
operations, not to other parts of their businesses that are not related to iTRS.65
23.
Discussion. We have modified some of the documentation requirements originally
proposed in the Certification FNPRM to minimize the burden on applicants to the extent consistent with
our responsibility to ensure that only qualified providers are certified and that we are able to exercise
adequate oversight of providers. All of the requirements we adopt below are adopted pursuant to one or
more of our objectives in this Second Report and Order to ensure that iTRS providers receiving
certification are qualified to provide iTRS in compliance with the Commission's rules, and to eliminate
waste, fraud and abuse through improved oversight of such providers.
24.
Deeds or Leases for Call Centers. In response to the comments,66 we modify our
proposal that a certification applicant file a copy of “each” deed or lease for “each” of its call centers.
Instead, we will require VRS providers that maintain five or fewer domestic call centers to submit the
deeds or leases for all of those call centers, while requiring providers with more than five domestic call
centers to submit a representative sampling of the deeds or leases67 for five of their centers, together with
a list of all other call centers that they operate. We note that the VRS Practices R&O already requires that
providers, twice per year, submit a list to the Commission and the TRS Fund administrator of the
locations of all of their call centers that handle VRS calls. Specifically, the list must contain the street
address of each call center, the number of individual CAs and CA managers employed at each call center,
and the name and contact information (phone number and email address) for the managers at each call
center.68 We direct that the list we require here contain the same information. In addition, all providers
must submit copies of deeds or leases for all international call centers that they operate, regardless of the
number of such centers; these supplement the aforementioned five (or fewer, if applicable) domestic
deeds or leases.
25.
We disagree with Sorenson’s contention that the Commission does not need actual copies
of deeds or leases to learn that an applicant owns and operates facilities.69 As we have previously noted,
several VRS investigations have involved fraud committed at call centers that are not operated by an
eligible VRS provider.70 Therefore, requiring copies of call center deeds or leases provides important
verification that the certified provider itself is operating the call centers. In addition, having copies of


63 AT&T Comments at 9-10.
64 ANI Comments at 2.
65 AT&T Comments at 14; see also Sprint Comments at 3, 7.
66 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 10.
67 When choosing a representative sampling of deeds or leases, applicants should consider size (by number of CAs)
and locations of call centers; providers already in the market should also consider call volume.
68 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5554, ¶ 12.
69 Sorenson Comments at 3.
70 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5554, ¶ 11.
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actual call center deeds or leases will help verify that the providers’ CAs are handling calls at call centers
rather than at home, a previously widespread practice that we prohibited in the VRS Practices R&O.71
Furthermore, requiring providers to submit actual deeds or leases of only five of their call centers, when
they have more than that number, will ensure a sufficiently large sample to verify that applicants for
certification are utilizing legitimate call centers, while lessening the documentation burdens on applicants
as originally proposed in the Certification FNPRM. Having documentation of all international calling
centers will also help to facilitate information gathering in situations where there is suspicion of TRS
fraud occurring outside the United States, making such operations more transparent and thereby
enhancing enforcement efforts.72 Because we do not require at this juncture that IP Relay or IP CTS
providers actually own or operate call centers,73 we do not apply this documentation requirement to them.
26.
Entities with Financial Interest in Applicant. We adopt the Commission’s proposal to
require that all iTRS applicants for certification or renewal submit a list of individuals or entities that hold
at least a 10 percent equity interest in the provider, have the power to vote 10 percent or more of the
securities of the provider, or exercise de jure or de facto control over the provider. In addition, we require
applicants to submit a description of its organizational structure, and the names of its executives, officers,
general partners (if the applicant is structured as a partnership), and members of its board of directors. No
commenters objected to this requirement, which we adopt to obtain full disclosure of the companies’
management structure, ownership structure and affiliated entities, which in turn will allow us to determine
whether providers are subject to undue influence, or de jure or de facto control by other entities. We
decline, however, to adopt the Commission’s proposal in the Certification FNPRM that certification
applicants submit a list of all financing arrangements pertaining to the provision of iTRS, including
documentation on loans for equipment, inventory, property, promissory notes, and liens. While such
documentation could be helpful to monitor for fraud, at this juncture we are requiring submission (or
retention by applicants) of sufficient documentation to detect fraud such that the incremental benefit of
requiring submission of financing documents to the Commission is outweighed by the burdens that this
requirement could impose, particularly on providers with varied, non-iTRS operations.
27.
List of Employees and Copies of Employment Agreements. In the Certification FNPRM,
the Commission proposed to require that certification applicants provide a list of names of all their
employees, and that they furnish copies of employment agreements for all of their executives and CAs.
We now adopt substantially modified versions of those proposals. With respect to employee lists, we
require only that providers submit a list of numbers of full-time and part-time employees involved in TRS
operations, that includes, divided by the following positions: the executives and officers; video phone
installers; CAs; and persons involved in marketing and sponsorship activities. In response to several
comments objecting to the scope of the Commission’s original proposal,74 we are not requiring the
submission of information on employees, such as janitorial staff, who do not have any direct involvement
with relay services.75 Limiting the employee lists as described herein relieves the burden on all iTRS
providers, including companies that have large non-iTRS operations. These lists of numbers of


71 See id. at 5554-59, ¶¶ 13-20.
72 We note that international TRS fraud has been a serious problem in the past. See, e.g., id. at 5550, ¶ 4 n.18; 5563-
65, ¶¶ 31-33.
73 See para. 20, supra.
74 ANI Comments at 4; AT&T Comments at 10; Purple Comments at 5; Snap Comments at 3; Sorenson Comments
at 4.
75 See, e.g., Sprint Comments at 7-8 (suggesting that any employee list be limited to those employees who work on
VRS or iTRS issues, and whose salaries and other expenses are included in Sprint’s annual cost submission to the
TRS Fund Administrator).
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employees will help the Commission to evaluate the applicant’s ability and readiness to provide the
service, while at the same time significantly curtailing the paperwork burdens for applicants.
Nevertheless, we require applicants to retain the more comprehensive documentation that the
Commission originally asked for regarding employees, including names and copies of employment
agreements -- to the extent they are involved in TRS operations -- and to furnish it to the Commission
upon the Commission’s request.
28.
Likewise, instead of submitting agreements for all of its executives and CAs, iTRS
certification applicants must retain employment agreements for its executives responsible for the
provision of iTRS, including senior operations and marketing personnel, and copies of CA employment
contracts. We disagree with AT&T that the agreements we are requiring applicants to retain bear little
relationship to applicants’ ability to provide iTRS in conformance with Commission rules.76 In the VRS
Practices R&O
, the Commission noted that the indictments from criminal investigations into VRS fraud
were replete with alleged instances in which CAs were rewarded for handling calls that otherwise would
not have been made.77 In response, the Commission adopted rules prohibiting CAs from receiving
compensation, being given preferential work schedules, or otherwise benefitting in any way based on the
number of minutes or calls that they relay.78 Therefore, requiring providers to retain CA employment
agreements and furnish them upon request to the Commission could help the Commission to evaluate
overall compliance with our rules, and to ensure that compensation of CAs is not based on minutes or
calls. Similarly, Commission examination of retained executive employment agreements could help to
ensure that, like their employees, these executives’ salaries are not based on illegitimate performance
objectives. Consistent with record retention requirements that the Commission adopted in the VRS
Practices R&O,
79 we likewise adopt a five year duration period for the employment agreements and other
employee records that we require providers to retain in this Second Report and Order. In sum, we find
that these requirements impose a minimal burden on providers, and will directly serve to further the
Commission’s goals of eliminating fraud and abuse of the TRS Fund.
29.
Proofs of Purchase or Lease for Use of All Equipment and/or Technologies. We adopt a
slightly modified version of the Commission’s proposal to require applicants for certification to submit
proofs of purchase or license agreements for all equipment and/or technologies, including hardware and
software, used for the applicant’s VRS call center functions. We disagree that a representative list of
equipment for the applicant’s first year of operations, or a general description of the facilities and
technologies that will be utilized by the applicant, is sufficient,80 or that the scope of the required
documentation is overbroad due to “most providers . . . utiliz[ing] at least some equipment or technology
that is not directly tied to a TRS call.”81 We will require applicants, in their submissions, to describe the
technology and equipment used to support their call center functions -- including, but not limited to,
ACD, routing, call setup, mapping, call features, billing for compensation from the TRS Fund, and
registration -- and for each core call center function, state whether it is owned or leased (and from whom
if leased or licensed), and provide proofs of purchase, license agreements, or leases. Per the


76 See AT&T Comments at 10.
77 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5549-50, ¶ 4 n.14; 5560, ¶ 23.
78 Id. at 5560, ¶ 23; 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(C)(5).
79 26 FCC Rcd at 5585, ¶ 87.
80 Sorenson Comments at 4; AT&T Comments at 11.
81 AT&T Comments at 10.
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Commission’s proposal, these core call center functions include ACD, routing, call setup, mapping, call
features, billing for compensation from the TRS Fund, and registration.82
30.
This requirement’s scope is limited to equipment and/or technologies to be used by the
applicant for its call center functions, i.e., to provide the core components (other than CAs) of VRS. This
requirement will help the Commission to ensure that the applicant has the full operational and technical
capability to operate a call center, in compliance with the Commission’s mandatory minimum standards,
which include speed of answer, handling of emergency calls, and the processing of ten-digit numbering
registration. Furthermore, having such documentation will help the Commission to ensure that providers
and other entities comply with the Commission’s rules designed to reduce fraud, and to put an end to
unauthorized revenue sharing arrangements that have escalated in the VRS program, as adopted by the
Commission in the VRS Practices R&O.83 For instance, a new Commission rule specifies that an eligible
VRS provider may not contract with or otherwise authorize any third party to provide interpretation
services or call center functions on its behalf, unless that authorized third party also is an eligible
provider;84 and above we adopt supplemental restrictions for ACD platform leases.85 Therefore, seeing
the actual agreements will help the Commission verify an applicant’s compliance with that rule. Because
we do not require at this juncture that IP Relay or IP CTS providers actually own or operate their own
facilities,86 we do not apply this documentation requirement to them.
31.
List of Sponsorship Arrangements. In the Certification FNPRM, the Commission
proposed that certification applicants submit a list of all sponsorship or marketing arrangements and
associated agreements, including those providing financial support or in-kind interpreting or personnel
service for social activities in exchange for brand marketing. We now adopt a slightly modified
requirement that applicants submit a list of all such sponsorship or marketing arrangements and associated
agreements, but only those related to iTRS. No commenter objects to this requirement. As the
Commission noted in the VRS Practices R&O, one of the primary sources of fraud uncovered through
recent investigations of VRS providers was calls ostensibly made for the purpose of marketing and
outreach.87 By adopting this requirement, the Commission will be better able to determine how applicants
market their services as providers, whether fraud or abuse of the Fund is likely to occur from such
activities, and whether it is probable that such marketing will produce inefficiencies.88
32.
Copies of Subcontracting Agreements for Non-Essential Services. In the Certification
FNPRM, the Commission proposed to require applicants for certification to file copies of any
subcontracting agreements for services not directly essential for the provision of iTRS, such as
maintenance and transportation services. We agree with commenters that requiring copies of
subcontracting agreements for services not directly essential for the provision of iTRS, such as
maintenance and transportation services, would be overly burdensome and not helpful for a determination


82 See VRS Practices R&O and Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5591, ¶ 97; see also id. at 5574, ¶ 58.
83 See VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, ¶ 57.
84 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii); VRS Practices R&O and Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5612,
App. E.
85 See paras. 17-19, supra.
86 See para. 20, supra.
87 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd.at 5550, ¶ 4 n.14.
88 Cf. 47 U.S.C. § 225(b)(1) (TRS to be “efficient”); para. 1, supra (goal of this proceeding to promote effective,
efficient, and sustainable iTRS).
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of the qualifications of an applicant for certification.89 We believe that the scope of such documentation
would be overly broad and only marginally useful, and we now decline to adopt this requirement.
33.
Copies of All Other Agreements Related to Provision of iTRS. In the Certification
FNPRM, the Commission proposed to require applicants for certification to submit copies of “all other
agreements” associated with the provision of iTRS. Although we decline to adopt a requirement that
applicants submit copies of all other such agreements that are not included in any of the above categories,
we may seek additional relevant information from individual applicants that we deem to be directly
relevant to the applicant’s ability to comply with our rules, on an as-needed basis. This is consistent with
the VRS Practices R&O, in which the Commission required that “all third-party contracts or agreements
be…available to the Commission and the TRS Fund administrator upon request.”90
34.
Common Carrier Status. Finally, as discussed above, in the Certification FNPRM, we
sought comment on a number of proposed modifications to our certification process that the Commission
originally raised in the 2010 VRS NOI.91 We noted that in the 2010 VRS NOI, the Commission sought
input on whether demonstration of common carrier status should continue to be a condition of
certification for all applicants,92 and we proposed to retain a requirement that an applicant for certification
demonstrate its status as a common carrier as part of its application’s supporting documentation.93 We
now agree with commenters that such a requirement is no longer necessary for iTRS certification
applications.94 Experience has shown that common carrier status generally has little or no connection
with the qualifications of an iTRS provider.95 In the 2010 VRS NOI, we noted that many states have been
known to “rubber stamp” applications by would-be iTRS providers for common carrier status, even where
the applicant for such status has no telecommunications background or intention of engaging in other
telecommunications services.96 As explained by Sorenson, common carrier status does not ensure
compliance with the TRS mandatory minimum standards, TRS providers are not necessarily common
carriers, and section 225 of the Act only requires that common carriers provide TRS, but not that all TRS
providers be common carriers.97 We will therefore eliminate the requirement that iTRS providers
demonstrate their status as common carriers in order to receive certification. We note, however, that all
providers, regardless of whether they are common carriers, are required to provide service in a manner
that is both compliant with the Act and the Commission’s rules and orders, and consistent with our
policies and goals to prevent fraud and abusive practices. To that end, we will seek comment in a
forthcoming NPRM on whether it is necessary to adopt a rule to make non-common carrier iTRS
providers subject to the same prohibitions against unjust or unreasonable practices that common carriers
are subject to under the Act.98


89 AT&T Comments at 10; Purple Comments at 5; Snap Comments at 3; Sorenson Comments at 3-4.
90 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, ¶ 60.
91 See Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5587-89, ¶¶ 92-95.
92 Id. at 5588, ¶ 93 (citing 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8605-06, ¶¶ 25-26).
93 VRS Practices R&O and Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5607, App. D (proposed 47 C.F.R. §
64.606(a)(2)(iv)); see 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(a)(2)(vii) (current common carrier status demonstration requirement).
94 See, e.g., Sorenson Comments at 6; Purple Comments at 5; Consumer Groups Reply Comments at 3. No
commenter opposed elimination of this requirement.
95 See ANI Comments at 2.
96 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8605, ¶ 25.
97 See Sorenson Comments at 6 (citing 47 U.S.C. § 225(c) and 2000 TRS Order, 15 FCC Rcd at 5174-75, ¶ 81).
98 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 201(b), 202(a).
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D.

On-Site Visits

35.
Background. In the Certification FNPRM, the Commission proposed that the iTRS
certification process include, at the Commission’s discretion, on-site visits to the premises of applicants,
to assess the merits of certification applications. The Commission explained that this requirement would
enable it to determine applicants’ qualifications, and enable it and the Fund administrator to oversee the
providers’ operations and activities so as to ensure they are in compliance with our rules.99
36.
Discussion. In Section III.C. above, we adopt documentation requirements for
certification applications that should greatly enhance the Commission’s ability to evaluate the
qualifications of iTRS certification applicants, as well as assist with potential fraud detection.
Nevertheless, we agree with commenters that on-site visits can provide a useful tool to better enable the
Commission to verify the information provided in a certification application, and help us to better assess
an applicant’s ability to provide service in compliance with our rules.100 On-site visits may uncover
deficiencies in an application or noncompliance in a provider’s operations, which will decrease
opportunities for and may, in turn, prevent, waste, fraud and abuse. Accordingly, we reserve the right to
include, as part of the iTRS certification process, an on-site visit to the applicant’s headquarters, offices or
call centers.101 We also reserve the right to make subsequent, unannounced on-site visits of iTRS
providers once they receive certification, for the purpose of ensuring continued compliance with
certification requirements.102
37.
In order to avoid an interruption of service after October 1, 2011103 by those VRS
providers who are already providing service via subcontracting, but who seek to become eligible
providers through Commission certification, we reserve the right to conditionally grant certification,
subject to a subsequent optional on-site visit104 of any applicant where the Commission, upon initial
review of the application, determines that the application facially meets the certification requirements, but
that the Commission needs to verify some of the information contained in the application. Such grant of
conditional certification will be without prejudice to the Commission’s final determination of the
applicant’s qualifications, and will be dependent on the Commission verifying the information provided
in the application for certification. Ultimate conversion to a full certification will occur when the
Commission finds, based on review of the application, that the conditional grantee is in compliance with
our rules and qualified to receive compensation from the Fund for the provision of iTRS services. In
other words, the Commission will complete its review of the applicant’s qualifications subsequent to the
site visit, and if the Commission finds the applicant to be qualified based on the complete review, then the
Commission will issue full certification. If the Commission finds the applicant not to be qualified based


99 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5591, ¶ 98.
100 See, e.g., SignOn Comments at 8 (on-site visits to an applicant’s call center or other facility are an appropriate
means of determining that the physical premises of a company’s operations comply with the Commission’s
requirements and that all centers meet the Commission’s mandatory minimum standards, including standards on
confidentiality, emergency access, and redundancy); Purple Comments at 7; ANI Comments at 4.
101 ANI Comments at 4; ASL Comments at 1; Purple Comments at 7; SignOn Comments at 8-9; Snap Comments at
4-5.
102 ANI Comments at 4; SignOn Comments at 9.
103 The current stay of section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii) of the Commission’s rules expires on October 1, 2011.
Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-51, Order Suspending Effective
Date, 26 FCC Rcd 8327 (2011). That section requires all VRS providers to be directly eligible for reimbursement
from the Fund, which, by that date, must be accomplished via the certification process for new entrants.
104 See 2010 VRS NOI, 25 FCC Rcd at 8605, ¶ 25.
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on the complete review, the application will be denied and the conditional certification will automatically
terminate 35 days after the denial; in such a case, the provider must give at least 30 days notice to its
customers that the provider will no longer provide service.105 We find that the ability to issue conditional
grants of certification balances the need for continuity of service with the need to ensure that only
qualified applicants for iTRS service are eligible to receive compensation from the TRS Fund for their
provision of iTRS services. Since the Commission will grant the conditional authorization without
prejudice to its final determination of the applicant’s qualifications, it will retain the ability to fully review
each application for VRS certification on the merits, and be able to verify information through an on-site
visit when needed to make a final ruling on the application.

E.

Annual Reports and Certification Renewals

38.
Under existing rules, providers are required to make an annual filing to show that they
are in compliance with our TRS rules.106 As has been the Commission’s practice in the past, annual
compliance reports are required to be filed on each anniversary of the date of certification as issued via
Public Notice from the Commission or its Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB).107 This
filing currently takes the form of a narrative that recounts the provider’s continued eligibility for
certification. In the Certification FNPRM, we proposed that providers be required to submit with their
annual reports updates to the information provided in their application for certification.108 We also
solicited comment on whether the provision of this information on an annual basis would eliminate the
need for renewal of certification every five years, as is now required by our rules.109
39.
Some commenters who support our proposal for providers to submit updates, with their
annual reports, to the information contained in their applications suggest that this requirement should take
the place of having to apply for renewal of certification every five years.110 They maintain that
submission of updates to their annual reports will provide the Commission sufficient opportunity to
regularly review a provider’s operations and compliance and to take appropriate action based on such
information without needing formal recertification every five years.111 Hamilton and Sorenson oppose
the annual update proposal, arguing that it would be unduly burdensome.112 AT&T and ANI request
clarification that the annual report would not require resubmission of all of the information already


105 We find that 35 days should be sufficient to provide an opportunity to transition customers to another VRS
provider.
106 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(g).
107 See, e.g., Notice of Certification of American Network as a Provider of Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP
Relay), Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Relay Service (IP CTS) Eligible for
Compensation from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund,
CG Docket No. 03-123, Public
Notice, 24 FCC Rcd 80, 82 n.11 (CGB 2009) (“The first [annual] report shall be due one year after the release date
of this Public Notice, and subsequent reports shall be due each year thereafter”).
108 See Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5592, ¶ 100.
109 See id. Currently, providers must re-apply for a renewal of their five-year certification by filing documentation
with the Commission at least 90 days prior to the expiration of such certification. See IP Relay/VRS Certification
Order,
20 FCC Rcd at 20589, ¶ 14 (“a certified provider must file for renewal at least 90 days prior to the expiration
of certification by filing the documentation required for certification”); 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(c)(2).
110 ANI Comments at 7-8; CSDVRS Comments at 2; Purple Comments at 6; SignOn Comments at 9-10.
111 Purple Comments at 6; SignOn Comments at 9-10.
112 Hamilton Comments at 10; Sorenson Comments at 4.
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submitted in the application for certification.113 Most providers concur with our proposal that providers
re-apply every five years.114
40.
Discussion. Due to the evolving nature of the technologies and market for iTRS services,
it is essential for the Commission to be informed on an annual basis of any updates to the information
provided in the certification application. The rules we adopt in this Second Report and Order therefore
require certified iTRS providers to append to their annual reports any documentary evidence required for
certification that has changed since the date that certification was granted, and that has not been included
in annual reports filed since the date of certification, and to provide a summary of such changes.115 If all
documents that a provider supplied to the Commission at the time of its certification application and with
subsequent annual reports remain accurate and current, a provider is instead required to append to its
annual report an attestation that it has no updates to its certification documentation and subsequent annual
reports. We find that this additional requirement will not impose a significant burden on iTRS providers,
as they already are required to file an annual compliance report under section 64.606 of our rules, and
they will simply need to update their documentation to reflect any changes since the prior year’s filing.
Likewise, we minimize the burdens on providers by limiting the annual updates to information that has
changed since that particular information was last reported to the Commission, and we have substantially
curtailed the documentation we require as compared to the Commission’s proposals in the Certification
FNPRM
.116 We therefore believe that the requirements as adopted address the concerns of some
commenters about their associated burdens.
41.
We decline to eliminate our current rule requiring iTRS providers to apply for
recertification every five years.117 Because iTRS providers are compensated from the TRS Fund, to
facilitate Commission oversight of iTRS providers, ensure compliance with our rules, and reduce waste,
fraud and abuse, it is essential that the Commission have the opportunity to fully re-evaluate each
provider’s qualifications periodically to determine whether each provider is in compliance with the
Commission’s rules and is otherwise qualified to provide iTRS service. We note that a term of five years
for iTRS certification is consistent with the period of certification granted for state TRS programs under
the Commission’s rules.118

F.

Notification of Substantive Change

42.
At present, our rules require VRS and IP Relay providers to notify the Commission of
substantive changes in their programs within 60 days of when these changes occur, and to further certify
that their service continues to meet mandatory minimum standards after implementing such changes.119


113 ANI Comments at 7-8; AT&T Reply Comments at 6-7.
114 Hamilton Comments at 10; SnapVRS Comments at 5; AT&T Reply Comments at 7; Consumer Group Reply
Comments at 3.
115 Providers holding certifications under our previous certification rules must append all the documentary evidence
required by revised section 64.606(a)(2) and (g) to their next annual report.
116 See Section III.C., supra.
117 We amend 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(c)(2) to reflect the documentation requirements that we adopt above, as well as to
incorporate a ministerial change to clarify that the recertification application must be filed at least 90 days prior to
expiration of the certification. See App. D, infra; see also note 113, supra.
118 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(c)(1).
119 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(f)(2). See generally IP CTS Declaratory Ruling (where the Commission clarified that IP CTS
is a form of TRS eligible for compensation from the Fund, but did not specifically apply the requirements of 47
C.F.R. § 64.606(f)(2) to IP CTS providers).
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However, our rules do not specify what constitutes a “substantive change.” In the Certification FNPRM,
we asked what types of changes should trigger a requirement to notify the Commission under the
“substantive change” rule, including (i) the use of new equipment and/or technologies to facilitate the
manner in which relay services are provided, (ii) providing services from a new facility not previously
identified to the Commission or the Fund administrator, and (iii) changes in a provider’s management,
name branding of its product, or marketing and outreach activities.120
43.
Most providers suggest that the notification requirement should apply only to changes
that materially affect mandatory minimum standards, rather than incremental changes to a business, such
as the introduction of new features or services.121 They argue that requiring frequent notifications is
burdensome and inconsistent with the way the Commission regulates mainstream telecommunications.122
Snap requests that the Commission limit the definition of substantive changes to “. . . very specific
circumstances, such as where a company’s financial, operational or functional stability may come into
question, [or] when a provider’s corporate structure may change or otherwise be impacted.…”123 In
contrast, ANI argues that any programmatic change should be disclosed to the Commission, and that the
new rules should make clear that the Commission may act upon such changed information to de-certify a
provider if it finds that the changed circumstances affect the provider’s eligibility.124
44.
Discussion. Given the critical need for the Commission to effectively oversee each
provider’s operations and any substantial changes that might be made to those operations, we believe that
the benefits from obtaining this information from all providers far outweigh any burdens that might be
associated with such notifications. Nor are we persuaded by arguments that telecommunications
providers do not have similar reporting obligations. Unlike mainstream telecommunications companies,
VRS and IP Relay providers are compensated from the Interstate TRS Fund rather than by the subscribers
who use their services. Thus, it is incumbent upon the Commission to ensure that such providers are and
remain fully compliant with our rules before approving such compensation.
45.
In this regard, we find that providing service using new technologies and equipment is
the type of substantive change that warrants notification to the Commission. Over the past year, a number
of providers have launched new video technologies that have not been reported to the Commission,125
some of which have raised compliance issues, especially with respect to the critical ability of VRS users
to access emergency 911 services.126 In order to ensure that the Commission has complete and up-to-date
information about the types of technologies and equipment used by VRS and IP Relay providers, we
amend our rules to require that each provider notify the Commission within 60 days of its launch of any
new equipment or technology, including hardware and software, that it offers to consumers to the extent
that such equipment or technology changes the way in which consumers access the provider’s VRS or IP


120 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5592, ¶ 100.
121 See, e.g., CSDVRS Comments at 4; Sorenson Comments at 8, Snap Comments at 6; Purple Reply Comments at
6; and Sorenson Reply Comments at 6.
122 CSDVRS Comments at 3-4; see also Snap Comments at 6.
123 Snap Comments at 5.
124 ANI Comments at 8.
125 See generally Consumer And Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on Application of New And
Emerging Technologies for Video Relay Service Use
, CG Docket No. 10-51, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 1950 (CGB
2011).
126 See generally Enforcement Bureau Reminds Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Service Providers of
Emergency Calling Requirements
, Enforcement Advisory No. 2011-05, 26 FCC Rcd 1870 (EB 2011).
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Relay services or has a bearing on the provider’s compliance with the Commission’ mandatory minimum
standards.127
46.
We also find that providing services from a new facility not previously identified to the
Commission or the Fund administrator and discontinuation of service from any facility are types of
substantive changes warranting notification to the Commission. In order to ensure that all VRS and IP
Relay providers comply with our rules, we must have in our records the existence and location of all VRS
and IP Relay facilities established by the providers. Without such information, it will be more difficult to
monitor compliance with our rules and to reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
47.
We take this opportunity to reiterate that if a Commission-certified provider purchases,
acquires, or merges with another iTRS provider, such transaction constitutes a substantive change under
section 64.606(f)(2) of the Commission’s rules, and therefore requires notice to the Commission within
60 days of its consummation.128 We further note that a Commission certification is not transferable to an
entity not already certified by the Commission as eligible for compensation from the Fund.129 In other
words, Commission certification only confers eligibility for compensation from the Fund upon the entity
receiving the certification.
48.
We will not, however, consider changes in a provider’s management, name branding of
its product, or marketing and outreach activities to be “substantive changes” for purposes of the 60-day
notification requirement. We find that this 60-day notification requirement should be limited to those
changes that likely impact a provider’s ability to provide service in compliance with our rules. At this
time, we do not find it necessary to apply this 60-day notification requirement to changes in a provider’s
management, name branding of its product, or marketing and outreach activities to ensure compliance
with our rules, but will revisit the issue if the need arises. Moreover, we believe that the rule changes we
adopt in this Second Report and Order, including the substance of the annual reporting requirements, will
enable the Commission to better monitor compliance with our rules and help us reduce waste, fraud and
abuse.

G.

Temporary Cessation of Service

49.
Background. As explained in the Certification FNPRM, our rules do not explicitly
address the obligations associated with a provider’s decision to temporarily cease its operations. To avoid
future interruptions in service that may hamper the ability of relay customers to place iTRS calls, we
proposed requiring that each certified provider seek prior Commission authorization of any voluntary
interruption in the provision of iTRS. Specifically, we proposed that a provider submit a written request
to CGB at least 60 days prior to any planned interruption, with detailed information of (1) its justification
for such service interruption; (2) its plan to notify customers about the impending interruption; and (3) its
plans for resuming service, so as to minimize the impact of such interruption on consumers through a
smooth transition of temporary service to another provider, and restoration of its service at the completion
of such interruption.130 We further proposed delegating authority to CGB to grant or deny such requests


127 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.604 et seq.
128 Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Clarifies the Transferability of Telecommunications Relay Service
(TRS) Provider Certification,
CG Docket No. 03-123, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 10438 (CGB 2008).
129 Id. “Because the Commission certifies providers based on the attestations of their owners or their
representatives, who are ultimately responsible for compliance with the Commission’s rules, the certification of a
provider does not automatically transfer to new owners.” Id. at 10439.
130 This proposed rule is comparable to the process under section 214(a) of the Act that domestic
telecommunications service providers must follow with respect to having to apply for and obtain permission for a
planned discontinuance or reduction in its service. Section 214(a) requires that a domestic interstate common carrier
(continued….)
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for service interruption, and to provide a response to the provider within 35 days of the proposed
interruption, in order to afford an adequate period of notification to consumers. We proposed to direct
that CGB, in deciding whether to grant or deny such requests, consider, among other things, the length of
time for the proposed interruption, the reason for such interruption, the frequency with which such
requests have been made by the same provider in the past, the potential impact of the interruption on
consumers, and the provider’s plans for a smooth service restoration.131
50.
With respect to unforeseen service interruptions due to circumstances beyond a
provider’s control, we proposed in the FNPRM that the affected provider submit a written notification to
CGB within two business days of when the service disruption first occurred, with an explanation of how
the provision of its service has been restored or will be restored imminently. Finally, we proposed taking
enforcement action against certified providers, including, but not limited to, the revocation of certification
and/or suspension of payment, in the event that a voluntary interruption of service occurs without
obtaining prior authority from the CGB or in the event that the requested cessation proceeds
notwithstanding CGB’s denial of the provider’s request.132
51.
Discussion. As supported in the comments, we will adopt our proposal to require
Commission approval in advance of planned service outages by VRS providers133 and to require
notification to consumers in advance of such outages.134 Because Section 64.604(b)(4)(i), which requires
that service be provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, currently applies to VRS but not to IP Relay
and IP CTS,135 we adopt these requirements for VRS and not for the other iTRS services. As proposed in
the FNPRM, applications for temporary cessation of service must be filed at least 60 days in advance of
such planned outage, and the Commission will act on any such application at least 35 days in advance of
the planned service interruption date to afford providers a sufficient opportunity to notify consumers.136
Interruptions of service are of concern to the Commission, given the impact that these might have on relay
users, and the requirements we are adopting herein will help avoid future interruptions in service that may
hamper the ability of customers to place VRS calls.
52.
We agree with ANI that we should draw a distinction between relatively brief outages
and lengthy outages.137 To address this concern, we adopt a de minimis exception to our initial proposal
to require prior Commission consent for all planned service outages. Planned outages of less than 30
minutes will not require prior consent of the Commission or prior notification to consumers, but the
(Continued from previous page)


apply for service discontinuance, as well as notify its customers of such planned discontinuance to ensure minimal
or no service disruption for its customers. See 47 U.S.C. § 214; 47 C.F.R. § 63.71. The Commission applied those
rules to interconnected VoIP in 2009. See IP-Enabled Services, WC Docket No. 04-36, Report and Order, 24 FCC
Rcd 6039 (2009).
131 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5592-93, ¶ 101.
132 Id. at 5593, ¶ 102.
133 See SignOn Comments at 10; Snap Comments at 6; Sorenson Comments at 8; but see ANI Comments at 9
(although the Commission should require notification, approval by the Commission should not be required).
134 See Sorenson Comments at 8
135 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(b)(4)(i).
136 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5592-93, ¶ 101.
137 See ANI Comments at 9; see also AT&T Reply Comments at 8. Neither ANI nor any other commenter proposed
a specific amount of time for drawing the distinction.
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Commission must be notified of such outages within two business days after the outage.138 As requested
by Sorenson in its comments, we clarify that we will not construe load-shifting among call centers as an
interruption in service if service is not affected by such load shifting.139
53.
We reject CSDVRS’ arguments that the notification and approval process proposed in the
Certification FNPRM is not standard in the telecommunications industry, is overly broad and
cumbersome, and that notification to consumers should be left to the discretion of the providers.140 We
are concerned that not all VRS providers are complying in good faith with our requirement that VRS
service be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.141 Because VRS providers are compensated
through a Federal program, consumers do not directly compensate providers for service, and we are
concerned about waste, fraud and abuse as well as enforcement of our requirement for providing service
24 hours a day, seven days a week, our requirements for VRS providers in regard to interruptions of
service will be different than our requirements for telecommunications providers. Because they would in
effect sanction noncompliance with our VRS rule requiring service 24 hours per day, seven days per
week, we reject ANI’s proposal to simply require a 14-day advance notification of a planned service
outage,142 and ASL Holdings’ proposal to draw a distinction between temporary and permanent
discontinuation of service. We also reject ASL Holdings’ proposal to provide that all applications for
temporary discontinuation of service are deemed granted if not acted upon within 30 days as unnecessary,
given the Commission’s commitment to address applications within that timeframe.
54.
As also supported in the comments, we will require that unforeseen service interruptions
of any iTRS service beyond the control of the provider be reported to CGB within two business days of
the start of such service interruption.143 As supported by the Consumer Groups, we also require that
notification of service outages be provided to consumers on an accessible website, and that the website
also include timely updates of service status.144 Because all iTRS consumers have an interest in robust
iTRS services and in knowing when and how often such services offered by certain providers are
interrupted, we apply these requirements pertaining to notification of unforeseen service outages to all
iTRS providers.
55.
We reject Sorenson’s argument that these requirements are burdensome.145 While we
acknowledge the concern expressed by ASL Holdings that there may be unusual circumstances under
which it is impossible for a provider to notify the Commission within two business days of the unforeseen


138 Even though the Part 4 rules regarding disruptions of communications serve a somewhat different regulatory
purpose than the rules we are adopting for VRS providers in this Second Report and Order, the use of 30 minutes
for drawing the distinction between planned outages requiring prior Commission consent and planned outages
requiring notification after the fact is consistent with the 30 minute exception for reporting outages found in Part 4
of the rules. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 4.1 et seq.
139 See Sorenson Comments at 8-9. We also will not construe load-shifting among call centers as an interruption in
service, for purposes of reporting unforeseen service interruptions, if service is not affected by such load shifting.
See para. 54, infra.
140 CSDVRS Comments at 4-5; see also AT&T Reply Comments at 2; Purple Reply Comments at 6; Sorenson
Reply Comments at 6.
141 See 47 C.F.R. § 67.604(b)(4)(i).
142 ANI Comments at 8-9; see also AT&T Reply Comments at 8.
143 See ASL Comments at 9; Consumer Groups Comments at 4; Snap Comments at 7; contra, CSDVRS Comments
at 5.
144 See Consumer Groups Comments at 4.
145 See Sorenson Comments at 9; see also Purple Reply Comments at 6.
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service interruption,146 we find that two days is generally ample time for an iTRS provider to provide the
basic notifications that we require. In addition, as with planned outages, we clarify that we will not
construe load-shifting among call centers as an interruption in service if service is not affected by such
load shifting.147
56.
As supported by Snap in its comments, we adopt our proposal to take enforcement action
against certified providers, including, but not limited to, the revocation of certification and/or suspension
of payment, in the event that a voluntary interruption of service occurs without obtaining prior authority
from CGB, in the event that the requested cessation proceeds notwithstanding CGB’s denial of the
provider’s request, if an unforeseen interruption is not followed by timely notice, or any interruption
continues for an unreasonable period of time.148 We may, in our discretion, also take enforcement action
against those VRS providers who abuse the 30 minute de minimis exception for obtaining prior
Commission consent to planned service interruptions. Specifically, if a provider were to have repeated
service interruptions of less than 30 minutes, we will investigate the cause of such interruptions and take
appropriate action including, but not limited to, the revocation of certification and/or suspension of
payment for failure to comply with our rule requiring that VRS service be offered 24 hours per day, seven
days per week.149 As is the case with telecommunications services, consumers of VRS services are
entitled to reliable service 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Because the consumers do not directly
compensate VRS providers, and thus do not “vote” with their wallets, these requirements are necessary to
ensure adequate Commission oversight and reliable VRS service for consumers.

H.

Timeframe for Existing Providers to Apply for New Certification

57.
In order to ensure the seamless delivery of iTRS during any transition period following
the Commission’s establishment of new eligibility requirements and certification procedures, the
Commission proposed in the Certification FNPRM that any provider currently eligible to receive
compensation from the TRS Fund via a means other than FCC certification150 be permitted, concurrently
with the submission of its application for Commission certification, to seek temporary waiver, while its
certification application is pending, of any new requirements to obtain certification from the Commission
in order to be eligible. The Commission stated that this would enable the provider to continue to receive
compensation from the Fund and to continue providing iTRS during this interim period.151 The
Commission requested comment on these proposals generally, as well as a time frame for these providers
to seek Commission certification and temporary waiver. In addition, the Commission sought feedback on
what an applicant seeking such a waiver should have to demonstrate in order to establish that a temporary
waiver of the certification requirement would serve the public interest. Further, in the event that an
applicant’s request for temporary waiver and/or application for certification were to be denied, the


146 See ASL Comments at 9. Under those circumstances, we will entertain a request for waiver for good cause
shown pursuant to section 1.3 of our rules. 47 C.F.R. § 1.3.
147 See Sorenson Comments at 8-9.
148 See Snap Comments at 6.
149 See 47 C.F.R. § 67.604(b)(4)(i).
150 This includes iTRS providers that are presently eligible because they are operating relay facilities under contract
with a certified state TRS program, own or operate relay facilities under contract with a common carrier providing
interstate services, or are an interstate common carrier.
151 The Commission also proposed to apply these provisions to those providers whose Commission certifications are
due to expire before the new certification requirements go into effect.
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Commission proposed that the applicant be given at least 30 days to discontinue its service in order to
allow its affected consumers sufficient time for transition to another eligible provider’s service.152
58.
Sorenson opposes the proposal that an eligible provider applying for certification
concurrently submit a request for temporary waiver of the new certification rules, arguing that compliance
with the new regulations will be time consuming. Sorenson proposes as an alternative that providers be
given, at minimum, six months to comply with the new requirements, including applying for Commission
certification, that providers should be allowed to apply for temporary waivers separately from their
applications for certification, and that such waivers be granted to all iTRS providers, currently eligible
under our rules to receive compensation from the TRS Fund, that are also in good standing.153
59.
Discussion. In order to ensure the seamless delivery of iTRS during the transition period
following Commission establishment of the new eligibility requirements and certification procedures, any
provider currently eligible to receive compensation from the TRS Fund via a means other than
Commission certification is required to apply for certification within 30 days after publication in the
Federal Register of notice of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the rules in this
Second Report and Order containing information collections, if it wishes to continue receiving
compensation from the Fund without interruption pending review of its certification application. We
hereby grant interim eligibility to any iTRS provider currently eligible to receive compensation directly
from the TRS Fund via a means other than Commission certification, to continue to be eligible to receive
compensation from the Fund. Such interim eligibility shall expire (1) 35 days after this application
deadline, in the event no application is timely filed; (2) 35 days after Commission dismissal or denial of
the application for certification in the event of Commission dismissal or denial;154 or (3) upon
Commission grant of the application for certification in the event of Commission grant. Where interim
eligibility expires under (1) or (2), we require the provider to give its customers at least 30 days notice
that the provider will no longer provide service. We decline to give providers six months to apply for
certification under the new rules, as proposed by Sorenson.155 Providers have been on notice since April
2011 of the proposals we now adopt as requirements in this Second Report and Order. We believe that
the 30-day time period from OMB approval of the rules with information collections that we adopt in this
Second Report and Order – and which is only triggered after a period of public comment on the
information collections and then time for OMB consideration -- will provide sufficient time for currently
eligible providers to apply for certification, while receiving compensation for the provision of iTRS
pursuant to interim eligibility as set forth above. Moreover, currently eligible providers such as Sorenson
likely will actually have more time to submit their certification applications than prospective, newly
eligible providers, whose ability to take part in revenue sharing arrangements will expire on October 1,
2011.156
60.
For those providers with Commission certifications that would have expired before the
new certification requirements adopted in this Second Report and Order go into effect had they not been


152 Certification FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 5593, ¶ 103.
153 Sorenson Comments at 9-10.
154 We find that 35 days should be sufficient to provide an opportunity to transition customers to another iTRS
provider.
155 Sorenson Comments at 9-10.
156 See note 106, supra. See also Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-
51, Order Suspending Effective Date, 26 FCC Rcd 8372 (2011).
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extended to November 4, 2011,157 we require that they submit applications for recertification under the
new requirements adopted in this Second Report and Order after the requirements become effective but at
least 30 days prior to the expiration of their currently extended certifications -- that is, no later than
October 5, 2011, provided that the rules are effective by that date.158 We acknowledge that Commission
rules normally require recertification applicants to apply at least 90 days prior to the certification
expiring.159 We find it reasonable under the circumstances to require these providers to file their
applications within this time frame, however, because they have been on notice since April 2011 of the
proposals we now adopt as requirements in this Second Report and Order, and have been on notice since
May 2011 of the November 4, 2011 expiration of their certifications.
61.
As discussed above, the current stay of the Commission’s rule which prohibits revenue
sharing arrangements160 expires on October 1, 2011. For those iTRS providers who are not currently
eligible to receive compensation directly from the Fund but are currently providing service under a
revenue sharing arrangement, and are interested in seeking a seamless transition to certified iTRS
provider, we urge that they file their certification applications on, or as soon as possible after, the day the
rules adopted in this Second Report and Order become effective, so that review of their applications can
commence as soon as possible.

IV.

ORDER

62.
In this Order, we adopt interim rules requiring that providers certify, under penalty of
perjury, that their certification applications and annual compliance filings required under section
64.606(g) of the Commission’s rules are truthful, accurate, and complete. As discussed below, we find
good cause to adopt these interim rules to ensure that providers seeking certification and providers
holding certifications may be held accountable for their submissions as they seek to secure or retain
certification under the rules adopted in the attached Second Report and Order.161
63.
The TRS rules currently require certification under penalty of perjury by a provider’s
senior executive as to the truthfulness, accuracy and completeness, and compliance with the
Commission’s rules and orders, of requests for compensation from the Fund and of data submissions to
the Fund administrator.162 The Commission had first adopted this rule on an interim basis, citing the
immediate need to make senior executives more accountable for their submissions, thereby preserving the


157 See Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Announces Extension of Expiring Certifications for Providers
of Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Services,
CG Docket Nos. 03-123 and 10-51, Public Notice, 26 FCC
Rcd 6737 (CGB 2011) (temporarily extending, until November 4, 2011, certification periods for VRS and IP Relay
providers with certifications scheduled to expire before that date, pending the Commission’s consideration of new
requirements related to reform of the certification process).
158 We will also afford 35 days to any such provider whose recertification application is dismissed or denied to
transition its customers to another iTRS provider, and require such provider to give its customers at least 30 days
notice that the provider will no longer provide service. Cf. note 109, supra, and accompanying text.
159 See note 113, supra.
160 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii).
161 These rules constitute new information collections subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, and approval
by OMB. They will become effective upon the Commission’s publication in the Federal Register of a notice
announcing approval of the collections by OMB.
162 See VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5585-87, ¶¶ 88-91; id. at 5610-11 (codifying rule at 47 C.F.R. §
64.604(c)(5)(iii)(C)(5)).
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TRS Fund.163 In adopting this rule on a permanent basis, the Commission found that the interim rule had
not been “burdensome for providers,” and further explained that “[r]equiring a signed statement sworn to
be true under penalty of perjury is a vehicle long and regularly used in a myriad of legal contexts to
guarantee the veracity of the declarations, as well as to provide a means for civil enforcement and
criminal prosecution” to hold high level officials accountable for the actions and submissions of their
companies.164 In addition, any applicant for, or holder of, any Commission authorization already is
required to ensure that its statements to the Commission are truthful, accurate, and complete under the
Commission’s rules.165
64.
Consistent with these existing requirements, we conclude that interim rules requiring
certification by a senior executive, under penalty of perjury, to the truthfulness, accuracy, and
completeness of certification applications and annual compliance filings are a necessary and “critical
component of our efforts to curtail fraud and abuse.”166 In particular, these interim rules will help to
ensure that the Commission has true and complete information, thereby ensuring that only qualified
providers are eligible for compensation from the Fund.167
65.
Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act requires that agencies provide notice of
and an opportunity for public comment on their proposed rules except, inter alia, “when the agency for
good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefor in the rules
issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public
interest.”168 Agencies, including the Commission, have been afforded “substantial deference” when
imposing interim regulations with or without prior notice and comment, particularly where such
regulations have been shown to be necessary to prevent irreparable harm and the agency is seeking
comment on the matter in a rulemaking proceeding.169
66.
In this case, we find good cause to adopt the following interim rules:
The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior
executive of an applicant for Internet-based TRS certification under this section with first
hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when
submitting an application for certification under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, must
certify as follows: I swear under penalty of perjury that I am __(name and title), _an


163 See 2010 VRS Declaratory Ruling, Order, and NPRM, 25 FCC Rcd at 6018-20, ¶¶ 11-16; 6038, App. B.
164 VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5586, ¶ 90 (citing 47 C.F.R. § 1.16).
165 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.17.
166 See VRS Practices R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5586, ¶ 90.
167 We note that the Commission’s rules require similar certifications in other application and report contexts. See,
e.g.,
47 C.F.R. § 1.2105 (requiring applicants for eligibility to bid in Commission auctions to make various
certifications under penalty of perjury, including, for instance, identifying all parties with whom the applicant has
entered into joint ventures or other arrangements of any kind relating to the licenses being auctioned); FCC Form
499-A (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet, upon which carrier and interconnected voice over Internet
protocol provider contributions to TRS, Universal Service, and other Funds are based, must be supported by
certification under penalty of perjury as to truthfulness and completeness).
168 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B).
169 See, e.g., Rural Cellular Ass’n v. FCC, 588 F.3d 1095, 1105-06, para. 10 (2009) (acknowledging that “the FCC
should be given ‘substantial deference’ when acting to impose interim regulations,” and that courts “have deferred to
the Commission’s decisions to enact interim rules based on its predictive judgment that such rules were necessary to
preserve universal service”) (citations omitted).
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officer of the above-named applicant, and that I have examined the foregoing
submissions, and that all information required under the Commission’s rules and orders
has been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in
this submission, are true, accurate, and complete.170
The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior
executive of an Internet-based TRS provider under this section with first hand knowledge
of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when submitting an
annual report under paragraph (g) of this section, must, with each such submission,
certify as follows: I swear under penalty of perjury that I am __(name and title), _an
officer of the above-named reporting entity, and that I have examined the foregoing
submissions, and that all information required under the Commission's rules and orders
has been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in
this submission, are true, accurate, and complete.171
67.
Specifically, we find good cause to adopt these interim rules without notice and
comment, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B), in light of the impending deadlines for initial and re-
certification applications. As discussed above in the Second Report and Order, the current stay of the
Commission’s rule which prohibits revenue sharing arrangements expires on October 1, 2011, and iTRS
providers who are not eligible to receive compensation directly from the Fund but are currently providing
service under a revenue sharing arrangement will no longer be able to provide service through such
arrangements.172 Similarly, providers currently eligible for compensation from the Fund via a means
other than Commission certification must apply for certification within 30 days after the rules adopted in
the Second Report and Order become effective,173 and providers with Commission certifications expiring
November 4, 2011 must apply for recertification after the rules become effective but at least 30 days prior
to their expirations provided that the rules are effective by that date,174 or risk having to shut down their
operations and being denied compensation from the Fund. We therefore find it necessary to adopt these
interim rules without further delay. Moreover, we find that interim rules are consistent with the public
interest, given the importance of ensuring that only qualified providers are certified to become eligible for
compensation from the Fund. Finally, we conclude that notice and comment, in this instance, are
impracticable given the impending certification application deadlines. In a forthcoming Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, we will seek additional comment on whether to make this rule permanent.

V.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

68.
Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis. This Second Report and Order
contains modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
(PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for
review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other Federal agencies are
invited to comment on the modified information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In
addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-


170 See App. C, infra (adding new interim 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(a)(2)(v)).
171 See id. (adding new interim 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(g)(2)).
172 See para. 61, supra (urging such providers to file their certification applications on, or as soon as possible after,
the day the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order become effective if they are interested in seeking a
seamless transition to certified iTRS provider).
173 See para. 59, supra.
174 See para. 60, supra.
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198,175 we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission might further reduce the
information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
69.
In this present document, we have assessed the effects of imposing various requirements
on iTRS providers to obtain certification from the Commission in order to be eligible for compensation
from the TRS Fund. We have determined that any additional data filing requirements imposed by this
Second Report & Order on iTRS providers are reasonable and necessary in order to ensure compliance
with our rules. We have taken steps to address the concerns of commenters stating that some of our
proposed rules were overly burdensome. For example, we initially proposed to require that a provider file
a deed or lease for every service center operated. We have modified this requirement in our final rule to
allow for providers with more than five centers to submit a sampling of deeds and leases. In addition, we
limited our proposed requirement for providers to submit documentation of all financial arrangements to
just those arrangements valued at $500,000 or more. We have also modified the proposed requirement
that providers submit copies of all subcontracting agreements, to require the submission of only those
agreements related to the provision of iTRS service. The Commission concludes that it has taken steps to
further reduce the burdens on affected entities to apply for certification to receive compensation from the
TRS Fund for the provision of iTRS services, and that the remaining filing requirements are not overly
burdensome.
70.
Congressional Review Act. The Commission will send a copy of this Second Report &
Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the
Congressional Review Act. See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).
71.
Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification. With respect to this Second Report & Order, a
Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification (“FRFC”) is contained in the Appendix. As required by Section
603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Commission has prepared an FRFC of the expected impact on
small entities of the requirements adopted in this Second Report & Order. The Commission will send a
copy of the Order, including the FRFC, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
72.
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. The interim rules adopted in this Order are being
adopted without notice and comment, and therefore are not subject to Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis
under 5 U.S.C. § 604(a). We will perform appropriate regulatory flexibility analyses for any permanent
rules we adopt at a later date.
73.
To request materials in accessible formats (such as Braille, large print, electronic files, or
audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This Second Report & Order can also be
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html">downloaded in Word and Portable Document Formats (PDF) at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html.

VI.

ORDERING CLAUSES

74.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections 1, 4(i), (j) and (o), 225, and
303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i), (j) and (o), 225, and
303(r), and Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B), this
Second Report and Order and Order IS ADOPTED.
75.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.427(a) of the Commission’s
rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.427(a), this Second Report and Order and Order and the rules adopted herein shall be


175 See 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4).
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effective 30 days after date of publication of a summary in the Federal Register, except for the rules
containing information collections, which require approval by OMB under the PRA and which shall
become effective after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing such
approval and the relevant effective date.
76.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Second Report and Order
and Order
including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of
the Small Business Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

List of Commenters

Commenters:

SignOn: A Sign Language Interpreting Resource, Inc.
June 1, 2001
American Network, Inc.
June 1, 2001
Purple Communications, Inc.
June 1, 2011
AT&T Services, Inc.
June 1, 2011
CSDVRS, LLC
June 1, 2011
Sorenson Communications, Inc.
June 1, 2011
Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.,
June 1, 2011
National Association of the Deaf, Association of Late-Deafened
Adults, Inc., and American Association of the Deaf-Blind
(Consumer Groups)
ASL Holdings, LLC
June 1, 2011
Hamilton Relay, Inc.
June 1, 2011
Snap Telecommunications, Inc.
June 1, 2011
Sprint Nextel Corporation
June 1, 2011
Todd Elliott
May 3, 2011
Rene G. Pellerin
May 2, 2011

Reply Commenters:

Gallaudet University
June 16, 2011
Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.,
June 16, 2011
National Association of the Deaf, Association of Late-Deafened
Adults, Inc., and American Association of the Deaf-Blind
(Consumer Groups)
AT&T Services, Inc.
June 16, 2011
Hamilton Relay, Inc.
June 16, 2011
MaIka Communications Group, Inc.
June 16, 2011
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Purple Communications, Inc.
June 16, 2011
Sorenson Communications, Inc.
June 16, 2011
Todd Elliott
June 14, 2011
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APPENDIX B

Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification

Docket No. 10-51

1.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 requires that a regulatory
flexibility analysis be prepared for rulemaking proceedings, unless the agency certifies that "the rule will
not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities."2 The
RFA generally defines "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," "small
organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction."3 In addition, the term "small business" has the
same meaning as the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.4 A small business
concern is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of
operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration
(SBA).5
2.
In this Second Report and Order, the Commission amends its process for certifying
Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS) providers as eligible for payment from the
Interstate TRS Fund (Fund) for their provision of iTRS, as proposed in the Commission’s April 2011
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in CG Docket No. 10-51.6 In the Certification FNPRM, the


1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (SBREFA) Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 5 U.S.C. § 605(b).
3 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
4 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of "small business concern" in Small Business Act, 15
U.S.C. S § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies "unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register."
5 Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632.
6 Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 5545 (2011) (VRS Practices R&O and Certification FNPRM; or VRS Practices R&O
when just referring to its Report and Order portion, and Certification FNPRM when just referring to its FNPRM
portion). Notwithstanding prior definitions of “iTRS,” see, e.g., Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-
to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled
Service Providers
, CG Docket No. 03-123, WC Docket No. 05-196, Order, 24 FCC Rcd 14342 (2009) (temporarily
waiving a requirement regarding treatment of toll free numbers for VRS and Internet Protocol relay (IP Relay)
services), for purposes of this Second Report and Order, we use the term “iTRS” to reflect the definition of
“Internet-based TRS” in our rules, essentially meaning all forms of TRS in which an individual with a hearing or
speech disability uses an Internet connection with the TRS communications assistant (CA). Cf. 47 C.F.R. §
64.601(11) (defining of “Internet-based TRS”). At present, this includes VRS, Internet Protocol relay (IP Relay),
the Internet-enabled form of captioned telephone relay service (IP CTS), and any combination of these services or
use of these services with other forms of relay, such as voice carryover (allowing a user to speak directly to the other
party while having the conversation relayed back) or hearing carryover (allowing a user to hear the other party
directly while using relay to convey messages). We note that in the future, “iTRS” may also include other forms of
relay services that utilize an Internet connection. Though this Second Report and Order is issued in a docket largely
focusing on VRS, the policies and rules we adopt here apply to providers of all forms of iTRS, unless specified
otherwise.
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Commission sought comment on ways to revise the current certification process to ensure that iTRS
providers receiving certification are qualified to provide iTRS in compliance with the Commission's rules,
and to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse through improved oversight of such providers.
3.
Specifically, in this Second Report and Order, the Commission requires all iTRS
providers to obtain certification from the Commission in order to be eligible to receive compensation
from the Fund; requires all VRS applicants for Commission certification to lease, license or own, as well
as operate, essential facilities associated with TRS call centers and to employ interpreters to staff those
centers at the date of the application; and requires each iTRS applicant for certification to submit specific
types of documentary evidence of its ability to comply with all of the Commission’s rules, including those
adopted in the VRS Practices R&O. In addition, the Commission adopts rules governing on-site visits by
Commission staff to the premises of applicants for certification, as well as to iTRS providers’ premises
after they are certified. The Commission also revises its rules governing annual compliance reports filed
by certified providers, and substantive TRS program changes that must be reported to the Commission.
Finally, the Commission requires prior approval for planned cessations of VRS service of 30 minutes or
longer.
4.
The Commission has assessed the effects of imposing various requirements on iTRS
providers to obtain certification from the Commission in order to be eligible for compensation from the
TRS Fund. The Commission has determined that any additional data filing requirements imposed by this
Second Report and Order on iTRS providers are reasonable and necessary in order to ensure compliance
with the Commission’s rules, particularly in light of the widespread fraud currently being investigated in
the VRS industry.7 VRS is a form of iTRS. The Commission has taken steps to address the concerns of
commenters stating that some of the Commission’s proposed rules were overly burdensome. For
example, the Commission initially proposed to require that a provider file a deed or lease for every
service center operated. The Commission has modified this requirement in its final rule to allow for
providers with more than five centers to submit a representative sampling of deeds and leases. In
addition, the Commission has declined to adopt its proposed requirement for providers to submit
documentation of all financing arrangements pertaining to the provision of iTRS. The Commission has
also declined to adopt the proposed requirement that providers submit copies of all subcontracting
agreements for services not directly essential for the provision of iTRS. The Commission concludes that it
has taken steps to further reduce the burdens on affected entities to apply for certification to receive
compensation from the Fund for the provision of iTRS, and that the remaining filing requirements are not
overly economically burdensome.
5.
In order to be compensated, TRS providers are already required to comply with all of the
Commission’s rules governing the provision of TRS. All reasonable costs of providing service in
compliance with this Second Report and Order are compensable from the Fund. Thus, because certified
providers will recoup the costs of compliance within a reasonable period, the Commission asserts that
such providers will not be detrimentally burdened. This applies to currently eligible iTRS providers, as
well as potential future applicants to provide iTRS.
6.
Applications to become a certified iTRS provider are voluntarily submitted. Therefore,
the Commission is not imposing an expense on a potential applicant that it cannot avoid by either
declining to apply for certification, or by complying with the Commission’s rules. If a small entity, as
defined by the SBA, makes the latter business decision and applies for certification by showing that it can
comply with all of the Commission’s rules, its expenses will be indirectly reimbursed from the Fund once
it becomes a certified provider. Therefore, for the small business entities receiving certification there is


7 See, e.g., Second Report and Order at para. 23, supra.
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no adverse economic impact, and the question of whether there is a negative impact on a significant
number of small entities is moot.
7.
Therefore, we certify that the requirements of the Second Report and Order will not have
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
8.
The Commission will send a copy of the Second Report and Order, including a copy of
this Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification, in a report to Congress pursuant to the Congressional
Review Act.8 In addition, the Second Report and Order and this final certification will be sent to the
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA, and will be published in the Federal Register.9


8 See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).
9 See 5 U.S.C. § 605(b).
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APPENDIX C

Interim Rules

Part 64 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

Part 64 – MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS

1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows:

Authority:

47 U.S.C. 154, 254 (k); secs. 403 (b)(2)(B), (c), Pub. L. 104-104,110 Stat. 56. Interpret or
apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 225, 226, 228, 254 (k), and 620, unless otherwise noted.

SUBPART F – TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND RELATED CUSTOMER
PREMISES EQUIPMENT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

2. The authority citation for subpart F continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154; 225, 255, 303(r), and 620.
3. Section 64.606 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(2) and paragraph (g) as follows:
(a)***
(2)***
(v) The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior executive of an
applicant for Internet-based TRS certification under this section with first hand knowledge of the
accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when submitting an application for certification
under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, must certify as follows: I swear under penalty of perjury that I am
__(name and title), _an officer of the above-named applicant, and that I have examined the foregoing
submissions, and that all information required under the Commission’s rules and orders has been
provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in this submission, are true,
accurate, and complete.
*****
(g) Internet-based TRS providers certified under this section shall file with the Commission, on an annual
basis, a report demonstrating that they are in compliance with §64.604.
(1) Such reports must update the information required in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and include
updated documentation and a summary of the updates, or certify that there are no changes to the
information and documentation submitted with the application for certification, application for renewal of
certification, or the most recent annual report, as applicable.
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(2) The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior executive of an
Internet-based TRS provider under this section with first hand knowledge of the accuracy and
completeness of the information provided, when submitting an annual report under paragraph (g) of this
section, must, with each such submission, certify as follows: I swear under penalty of perjury that I am
__(name and title), _an officer of the above-named reporting entity, and that I have examined the
foregoing submissions, and that all information required under the Commission's rules and orders has
been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in this submission, are
true, accurate, and complete.
*****
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APPENDIX D

Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part
64 as follows:

Part 64 – MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS

1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows:

Authority:

47 U.S.C. 154, 254 (k); secs. 403 (b)(2)(B), (c), Public Law 104-104,
110 Stat. 56. Interpret or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 225, 226, 228, 254 (k), and 620, unless otherwise
noted.

SUBPART F – TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND RELATED CUSTOMER
PREMISES EQUIPMENT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

2. The authority citation for subpart F continues to read as follows:

Authority:

47 U.S.C. 151-154; 225, 255, 303(r), and 620.
3. Section 64.604 is amended by adding new paragraph (b)(4)(iv) and by revising paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(F)
to read as follows:
§64.604 Mandatory minimum standards.
*****
(b)***
(4)***
(iv) A VRS provider leasing or licensing an automatic call distribution (ACD) platform must have a
written lease or license agreement. Such lease or license agreement may not include any revenue sharing
agreement or compensation based upon minutes of use. In addition, if any such lease is between two
eligible VRS providers, the lessee or licensee must locate the ACD platform on its own premises and
must utilize its own employees to manage the ACD platform.
*****
(c)***
(5)***
(iii)***
(F) Eligibility for Payment from the TRS Fund.
(1) TRS providers, except Internet-based TRS providers, eligible for receiving payments from the TRS
Fund must be:
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(i) TRS facilities operated under contract with and/or by certified state TRS programs pursuant to
§64.606; or
(ii) TRS facilities owned or operated under contract with a common carrier providing interstate services
operated pursuant to this section; or
(iii) Interstate common carriers offering TRS pursuant to this section.
(2) Internet-based TRS providers eligible for receiving payments from the TRS fund must be certified by
the Commission pursuant to §64.606.
* * * * *
4. Section 64.606 is amended by revising the section heading and paragraph (a)(2), by adding new
paragraph (a)(3), by revising paragraphs (b)(2), (c)(2), (e)(2), (f)(2) and (g), and by adding new paragraph
(h) to read as follows:
§ 64.606 Internet-based TRS provider and TRS program certification.
(a)***
(2) Internet-based TRS provider. Any entity desiring to provide Internet-based TRS and to receive
compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund, shall submit documentation to the Commission addressed to
the Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, TRS
Certification Program, Washington, DC 20554, and captioned “Internet-based TRS Certification
Application.” The documentation shall include, in narrative form:
(i) A description of the forms of Internet-based TRS to be provided (i.e., VRS, IP Relay, and/or IP
captioned telephone relay service);
(ii) A detailed description of how the applicant will meet all non-waived mandatory minimum standards
applicable to each form of TRS offered, including documentary and other evidence, and in the case of
VRS, such documentary and other evidence shall demonstrate that the applicant leases, licenses or has
acquired its own facilities and operates such facilities associated with TRS call centers and employs
communications assistants, on a full or part-time basis, to staff such call centers at the date of the
application. Such evidence shall include, but not be limited to:
(A) In the case of VRS applicants or providers,
(1) Operating five or fewer call centers within the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for each call
center operated by the applicant within the United States;
(2) Operating more than five call centers within the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for a
representative sampling (taking into account size (by number of communications assistants) and location)
of five call centers operated by the applicant within the United States, together with a list of all other call
centers that they operate that includes the information required under §64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(2);
(3) Operating call centers outside of the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for each call center
operated by the applicant outside of the United States;
(4) A description of the technology and equipment used to support their call center functions – including,
but not limited to, automatic call distribution, routing, call setup, mapping, call features, billing for
compensation from the TRS Fund, and registration -- and for each core call center function, a statement
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whether such technology and equipment is owned, leased or licensed (and from whom if leased or
licensed); and
(5) Proofs of purchase, leases or license agreements for all technology and equipment used to support
their call center functions, including a complete copy of any lease or license agreement for automatic call
distribution.
(B) For all applicants, a list of individuals or entities that hold at least a 10 percent equity interest in the
applicant, have the power to vote 10 percent or more of the securities of the applicant, or exercise de jure
or de facto control over the applicant, a description of the applicant’s organizational structure, and the
names of its executives, officers, members of its board of directors, general partners (in the case of a
partnership), and managing members (in the case of a limited liability company);
(C) For all applicants, a list of the number of applicant’s full-time and part-time employees involved in
TRS operations, including and divided by the following positions: executives and officers; video phone
installers (in the case of VRS), communications assistants, and persons involved in marketing and
sponsorship activities;
(D) For all applicants, copies of employment agreements for all of the provider’s employees directly
involved in TRS operations, executives, and communications assistants, and a list of names of employees
directly involved in TRS operations, need not be submitted with the application, but must be retained by
the applicant for five years from the date of application, and submitted to the Commission upon request;
and
(E) For all applicants, a list of all sponsorship arrangements relating to Internet-based TRS, including any
associated written agreements;
(iii) A description of the provider's complaint procedures; and
(iv) A statement that the provider will file annual compliance reports demonstrating continued
compliance with these rules.
(3) Assessment of Internet-based TRS Provider Certification Application. In order to assess the merits of
a certification application submitted by an Internet-based TRS provider, the Commission may conduct
one or more on-site visits of the applicant’s premises, to which the applicant must consent.
(b)***
(2) Requirements for Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification. After review of certification
documentation, the Commission shall certify, by Public Notice, that the Internet-based TRS provider is
eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund if the Commission determines that the
certification documentation:
(i) Establishes that the provision of Internet-based TRS will meet or exceed all non-waived operational,
technical, and functional minimum standards contained in §64.604;
(ii) Establishes that the Internet-based TRS provider makes available adequate procedures and remedies
for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this section and the mandatory minimum standards
contained in §64.604, including that it makes available for TRS users informational materials on
complaint procedures sufficient for users to know the proper procedures for filing complaints.
(c)***
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(2) Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification period. Certification granted under this section shall
remain in effect for five years. An Internet-based TRS provider applying for renewal of its certification
must file documentation with the Commission containing the information described in paragraph (a)(2) of
this section at least 90 days prior to expiration of its certification.
* * * * *
(e)***
(2) Suspension or revocation of Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification. The Commission may
suspend or revoke the certification of an Internet-based TRS provider if, after notice and opportunity for
hearing, the Commission determines that such certification is no longer warranted. The Commission
may, on its own motion, require a certified Internet-based TRS provider to submit documentation
demonstrating ongoing compliance with the Commission's minimum standards if, for example, the
Commission receives evidence that a certified Internet-based TRS provider may not be in compliance
with the minimum standards.
(f)***
(2) VRS and IP Relay providers certified under this section must notify the Commission of substantive
changes in their TRS programs, services, and features within 60 days of when such changes occur, and
must certify that the interstate TRS provider continues to meet federal minimum standards after
implementing the substantive change. Substantive changes shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) The use of new equipment or technologies to facilitate the manner in which relay services are
provided;
(ii) Providing services from a new facility not previously identified to the Commission or the Fund
administrator; and
(iii) Discontinuation of service from any facility.
(g) Internet-based TRS providers certified under this section shall file with the Commission, on an annual
basis, a report demonstrating that they are in compliance with §64.604. Such reports must update the
information required in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and include updated documentation and a
summary of the updates, or certify that there are no changes to the information and documentation
submitted with the application for certification, application for renewal of certification, or the most recent
annual report, as applicable.
(h) Unauthorized service interruptions.
(1) Each certified VRS provider must provide Internet-based TRS without unauthorized voluntary service
interruptions.
(2) A VRS provider seeking to voluntarily interrupt service for a period of 30 minutes or more in duration
must first obtain Commission authorization by submitting a written request to the Commission’s
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) at least 60 days prior to any planned service
interruption, with detailed information of:
(i) Its justification for such interruption;
(ii) Its plan to notify customers about the impending interruption; and
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(iii) Its plans for resuming service, so as to minimize the impact of such disruption on consumers through
a smooth transition of temporary service to another provider, and restoration of its service at the
completion of such interruption. CGB will grant or deny such a request and provide a response to the
provider at least 35 days prior to the proposed interruption, in order to afford an adequate period of
notification to consumers. In evaluating such a request, CGB will consider such factors as the length of
time of the proposed interruption, the reason for such interruption, the frequency with which such
requests have been made by the provider in the past, the potential impact of the interruption on
consumers, and the provider’s plans for a smooth service restoration.
(3) In the event of an unforeseen service interruption due to circumstances beyond an Internet-based TRS
service provider’s control, or in the event of a VRS provider’s voluntary service interruption of less than
30 minutes in duration, the provider must submit a written notification to CGB within two business days
of the commencement of the service interruption, with an explanation of when and how the provider has
restored service or the provider’s plan to do so imminently. In the event the provider has not restored
service at the time such report is filed, the provider must submit a second report within two business days
of the restoration of service with an explanation of when and how the provider has restored service. The
provider also must provide notification of service outages covered by this paragraph to consumers on an
accessible website, and that notification of service status must be updated in a timely manner.
(4) A VRS provider that fails to obtain prior Commission authorization for a voluntary service
interruption or fails to provide written notification after a voluntary service interruption of less than 30
minutes in duration, or an Internet-based TRS provider that fails to provide written notification after the
commencement of an unforeseen service interruption due to circumstances beyond the provider’s control
in accordance with this subsection, may be subject to revocation of certification, suspension of payment
from the TRS Fund, or other enforcement action by the Commission, as appropriate.
42

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